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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 28, 2006

Bush Picks Hillary?

It got only a sentence in the article, but it was at least the first sentence, so it wouldn't be missed. Bush referred to Hillary Clinton as 'formidable'.

Now, we all know that Hillary has some folks who seem to love her and the ground she walks on. But we also know she gets damned little respect from anybody outside of New York City. So why would Bush call her formidable? Could it be that the Dems are so desperate for a candidate that might win that they would alienate their own voters to push her? They should grow some balls and stand up to the Bush team more loudly and more publicly.

I suspect that it's a part of the Rove strategizing - start way early to plant ideas that will result in Repuke victories - like appearing to give some 'respect' to Hillary Clinton. This statement might make some foolish people believe that the GOP fears her as a candidate, and that she might stand a chance against a Republican candidate in '08. But I don't know anyone who thinks she's any more than a Bush war suck-up wannabe. Running Hillary Clinton would be dangerous to America - it's a sure loss, and a sure continuation of the GOP dictatorship-to-come agenda. The only surer way for the Dems to lose is to run Ralph Nader as a Democrat.

Everybody who wants to see Hillary run, step forward.

Gay is OK in Washington Today

As of Friday, the State of Washington has a gay rights law. But, it apparently doesn't permit marriage.

First introduced in the 1970s, the measure adds "sexual orientation" to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance, making Washington the 17th state passing a law covering gays and lesbians. It is the seventh to protect transgender people.

Sen. Bill Finkbeiner was the only Senate Republican to endorse the measure. Two Democrats voted against it.

"We don't choose who we love. The heart chooses who we will love," Finkbeiner said. "I don't believe that it is right for us to say ... that it's acceptable to discriminate against people because of that."

The bill was amended by Republicans on the House floor to say that it would not modify or change state marriage laws. A Senate amendment added a caveat saying the state does not endorse "any specific belief, practice, behavior, or orientation."

Now, a little humor

Bush and Blair, lip-synching "Gay Bar". Not badly done, if I may say so. Laugh a little, while it's still legal.

Doug's on a roll....

Captiol Hill Blue's Doug Thompson is on a roll about the dangers the Busheviks represent to America and to Liberty. It should be read, if only for the sake of being informed about reasons to be opposed to Bush and his junta.

I wish I could say that I disagree. I can't.

Excuses, more Excuses, and the Draft

Bush defends spying on citizens, challenges Congress to do anything about it, and says that making the administration accountable for it's Katrina failures by providing information restricts his ability to work. Then he says he's 'transforming' the military, in response the the report that the Army is about to hit the wall. Well, if you can't recruit and can't retain, which is what is happening, then you have to DRAFT, right?

Asked if he would support efforts in Congress to spell out his authority to continue the eavesdropping program, Bush cited what he said was the extreme delicacy of the operation.

"But it's important for people to understand that this program is so sensitive and so important that if information gets out to how we run it or how we operate it, it'll help the enemy," he said. "Why tell the enemy what we're doing?"

"We'll listen to ideas. But I want to make sure that people understand that if the attempt to write law makes this program -- is likely to expose the nature of the program, I'll resist it," he said.

Um, excuse me. You're talking about it, so it's out there. You've already alleged (lied probably, like every other time your mouth opens) that you're only snooping on calls involving KNOWN Al-Qaeda folks going out of the country or coming into the country. You said that in your press conference. IF that is true, how much more can a law to restrict the spying to those folks damage your program? YOU already gave away the core of it - UNLESS YOU WERE LYING AGAIN.



Is that coffee I smell?

Well, it seems that some of our Democrat leaders are growing some bone in the spinal area - or at least might be. We'll still have to see if it becomes solid in the future. They're actually trying out something other than just whining about the GOP bullying.

Check it out. I can't decide if I think it's for real, or a Washington anomaly of some kind. What's your call?

Disaster - Coming to Your Town Next

Senator Harry Reid takes the administration to task in front of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and warns them that Bush team's inaction could make their city next on the catastrophe list.

Cities are at risk because the Bush administration is too preoccupied with its political problems to properly prepare for another natural disaster or terrorist attack, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid told mayors from around the country Friday.

"Any one of your cities and towns could be the next New Orleans," Reid said at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "The federal government owes it to you and your citizens to be prepared the next time disaster strikes."

****************************

Reid said the poor choices of the administration and Republicans in Congress are also evident in steps securing the nation after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Efforts to spend more money for emergency workers in cities were rejected as well as efforts to restore money for extra police, he said.

But, if Bush makes the nation safe, then there can't be another attack, and how will he manage to keep up the fear factor without one? How will he justify (almost plausible excuse) cancelling elections and staying in office as the 'war chief' without some kind of 'terrorist' attack?

Slipping polls

The new CBS-NYT poll shows slipping numbers for the Bush administration - on nearly all of it's agendas.

Seven in 10 said in the poll released Friday that they expect the deficit to grow larger by the end of his presidency. Four in 10 said they think health care will be worse, while half said they expect it will be about the same.
**************************
About half in the poll, 51 percent, said they expect seniors will pay more for prescription drugs by the end of the president's second term. A third said they will pay the same and the remainder said less.
*************************
Bush is viewed unfavorably by 48 percent and viewed favorably by 37 percent

It's getting serious for the Chimp in Charge. This is the highest 'unfavorable' I remember seeing, and it's 4 to 3 against. That makes it also the lowest 'favorable' I've seen. Can disgrace and defeat be far behind? Does Karma really pay back in one lifetime? My fingers are crossed....

Protecting Jack

Senate Democrats want changes made to the prosecution of Jack Abramoff, following the announcement that the current prosecutor was nominated to a Federal Judgeship in New Jersey. Guess who nominates these guys - and it isn't Jack. Hint - who called Abramoff the administrations best friend back in 2004?

What better way to protect a guy you say you don't know, than to buy off the prosecutor with a promotion and leave control of the case in the hands of your pocket-pet Alberto 'Torture' Gonzales? Is there any reader here who believes that Gonzales would make an honest effort to prosecute the guy Bush called "this administration's best friend" in 2004? Any reason Gonzales, who rode to the AG job on his twisted legal opinions supporting anything Bush wanted to do, would ever want to jail the main money-man for the K-Street Project and all of the GOP bribery and pay-for access corruption? I - don't - THINK - so!



Web wars

The US Pentagon has released a plan called the Information Operations Roadmap, which outlines the Pentagon's plan to develop war capabilities against the internet. This would include snooping, hacking, destruction of websites, running it's own propaganda blogs and collecting information on other bloggers and commentors.

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

Here is the story, from BBC Worldwide News. There is also a link to the .pdf version of the released document, but it is heavily redacted - perhaps as much as 20%. So even released, the real meat of it is just covered by big black blobs. But if you want to know what's up, read up.


Friday, January 27, 2006

American Pie

Hermitage Capital's Bill Browder, has outlined six scenarios that could take oil up to a downright terrifying $262 a barrel.

Speaking of Terrorists Watch Lists...

One would think, this would qualify one for such a list:

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter, speaking at a traditionally black college, joked that Justice John Paul Stevens should be poisoned.

Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion. Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members.

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

As well as time in prison:
...threatens to assault, kidnap or murder a member of the immediate family of a United States official, a United States judge, a Federal law enforcement officer, or an official whose killing would be a crime under section 1114 of this title... A threat made in violation of this section shall be punished by a fine under this title or imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years, or both, except that imprisonment for a threatened assault shall not exceed 6 years.
But I'm guessing such statutes would only apply to those of a more liberal persuasion in today's political paradigm. Just a hunch.

Abject Failure

Do you feel safer with the Republicans protecting you? I mean they're spying on your e-mail and phone calls with the best technology they have, they track every purchase you make and where you made it and what the money was spent on (or just search for "DARPA"), and they have identified 80,000 dangerous persons who are now on the 'no-fly' list.

That's right. Eighty thousand people so dangerous that they can't fly because they might blow up the airplane. Most of then US citizens and residents - including Senator Ted Kennedy (I think he got off the list by now though), and a 4 year old boy.

So Nostradamnthem decided to check on that number - I mean, it seems a little, you know, big. Looking for the source, I Googled "size no-fly list 80,000". I got 16,800 hits. On the first page I found a source - the site references the Swedish newspaper Svensa Dagbladet which discusses the list transmitted to foreign governments by the State Department. I do not read Swedish so I did not try to get a copy of the article. (By the way - there is a lot of information on that site related to other current news involving Google.) Other hits and discussion of the 80,000 number were found at Yahoo, Daily Kos, Illuminati News, NoGW, and Maximum America. And of course that still leaves 16,794 other references to that number. The point? Simply trying to find out if the number is accurate.

As you'll read in the Yahoo piece, the No-fly List is so 'super secret double probation' in nature that you are not permitted to be informed as to how you got on there or why or how to get off - but you do have to give up your SSN and driver's license number to be told they can't tell you squat and you're just screwed.

Well, so here comes the point I was getting at originally. Eighty thousand people is a damned lot of terrorists to have in this country, particularly in light of the NSA spying. However, since they are obviously not detaining and interrogating, or torturing, 80,000 citizens on the no-fly list, it implies that there is no 'probable cause' involved in getting on the list. It's a do-nothing but harassment list. This list is most clearly compiled on whim and pique. You can get on it by having a name similar to a terrorist, or by visiting an Islamic website, or by publicly criticizing the Bushies. But you can't get off the list. And this is in spite of the fact that DARPA knows every move you make.

Eighty thousand people labeled as that dangerous implies a government out of control. Is there any probable cause for this list? If even 10% of that list is there for genuine probable cause, that is 8,000 terrorists, and it indicates a complete, utter, abject failure of the Bush dictatorship to protect the nation. One tenth of one percent of the that list would be 80 terrorists, and that is four times the number involved in leveling the WTC. Sleep well, America.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Food for Thought

Bob Moorehead:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

So much news, so little time

It seems like every news item I see coming out of Washington these days is bad news for the nation (which I define as the citizens collectively). And I don't really have time to sort it all out and keep on top of it, as you may have noticed. (Dionysus must have been living on 30 hour days to do what he did.)

So I know I must be missing things. Here's your chance to help out - and a 'please help out' from me. What have I missed? I know there is something....

Lean on Me


President Bush said General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. should develop more appealing products rather than look to Washington for help with their heavy pension burdens.

GM's Big Stinky

General Motors announced losses Thursday. But the economy is sure booming, huh?

"the company is moving forward with its turnaround plans, including a restructuring that will cut 30,000 jobs and shutter 12 facilities by 2008 and a plan to cut structural costs by $4 billion this year, largely through a health-care agreement with the United Auto Workers..."

(That's a health-care take-away agreement folks.)

I wonder when we as a nation will wake up to the fact that everything we buy that is NOT US MADE is paying for the labor of a foreigner, while the US manufactured goods actually pay for the labor of our neighbors. See the connection? Buying American-made products is just good sense. If you object to having your jobs outsourced, boycott foreign made goods as much as you can.

Want some cheese with your Gonzo whine?

Bush's pocket pet Alberto Torture Gonzales is stumping to support the illegal NSA spying program. But basically, he's repeating all the same arguments Bush made the other day. And if you want to actually HEAR him, he was on NPR and here is a link to where you can find the text or the audio.

At the heart of these defenses are two central 'arguments' - if you call a 4 year-old's excuses for breaking the rules 'arguments' too. To me they don't hold water.

First, they are justified in spying on citizens because Congress authorized Bush to take military action against Osama. Second, they are violating the FISA law because compliance with a requirement for Probable Cause is just too onerous - they're claiming fishing rights.

Well, the first excuse was used to depose Saddam because of the lie that he helped Osama, which was stretching at the time. But to now use that same argument to say that you're spying on me because by six degrees of separation I might know a terrorist is a load of crap.

The second excuse won't hold water because FISA gives them time to start spying before producing any evidence of probably cause. Gonzales actually mentioned on NPR that they were violating the FISA law because it was too much trouble to have the probable cause approved by the several people in the chain of command that FISA requires. Like you're not just rubber-stamping this all the way up, eh Gonzo? The truth is that you simply want to go fishing wherever you please, and it's too much trouble to have to prove the need to FISA when there isn't one.

Oh, and if they aren't spying on citizens, then just why do they not offer to let Congress review the entire program, including the details of who they spied on and why? The Patriot Act prohibits any representative or senator from spilling details to the public - as if their sense of patriotism wouldn't - so it's not like 'the enemy would find out'. Congress could easily tell the nation that the program was used sensibly, safely and not spying on plain everyday folks if that were the case.

But until the administration gives up the details for inspection at the least by the entire Congress, then I will accuse them of spying on innocent citizens for fishing purposes, and will consider everything else said on the issue to be lies concocted to support the illegal activity and to evade prosecution.

Well, somebody finally wrote it!

I was waiting for this. Didn't know where it would come from, but here it is. Washington insider journalist Doug Thompson has finally called the nazis nazis, called the Chimperor a dictator wannabe, and done it in print.

Maybe he's not the first. Maybe there are other non-blog journalists doing the same. There is my link. I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

My first reaction is to think 'hoo boy is HE gonna be in trouble'. What's yours?

Democracy in the Middle East

Ruling authority in Kuwait was transferred by a vote of the parliament, not by inheritance. Democracy actually did break out in the Middle East. We should all be impressed by our Kuwaiti friends, and hope they stay our friends.

"Today, we were promoted from a Third World country to a first world country," Fouad Al Hashem, columnist for Al Watan daily, told The Associated Press.

"Power was transferred from one man to the other in a Third World country without the radio station being surrounded by tanks, without soldiers in the streets or leaflets being dropped from helicopters, or journalists arrested."
Funny, warlord Bush and the US military had nothing to do with this.

Nobody pays attention to signs

Apparently, the public isn't as impressed with the economy as Bush and his puppets are. But then, paying higher prices for everything while you lose your job or can't find one has a way of making even the most un-educated mullet-head Repug start to think like that.

People are skeptical about the economy despite recent encouraging signs, with worries about the costs of gas, heating oil and health care.

Views of the economy show sharp partisan differences, with Republicans far more likely to be optimistic than either Democrats or independents, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
----------------------------------
"I was surprised by the growing gap between the way Republicans and the rest of the public see the national economy."

And that from a highly paid so-called 'expert'. One word - DUH!

You can't whitewash the smell away...

The federal screw-ups related to Katrina seem to be unending, just like DeLay's crooked connections. We now have reconstruction in NOLA held up by the inability of the FEMA folk (or is that the FEMA-fuck?) to even write the building standards they are supposed to write. Or is it 'inability'? After the glowingly coordinated lack of action at the time of the storm, one has to wonder if they can't write building standards or if they just don't want to. Maybe Bush really does hate Black folk and wants to ruin New Orleans? Maybe his appointees in DHS are just inept morons, and maybe his ability to manage anything in government other than corruption, lying and an attempt to become the first US Dictator is just non-existent.

And yet, it's obviously much worse than any of us thought. Apparently, it goes so much deeper than just Mike Brown. The entire administration is trying to hide from this catastophic failure of Bush and his cronies, and even Republicans and their sympathizers are getting fed up with the White House stalling.

The White House is crippling a Senate inquiry into the government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina by barring administration officials from answering questions and failing to hand over documents, senators leading the investigation said Tuesday.

In some cases, staff at the White House and other federal agencies have refused to be interviewed by congressional investigators, said the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In addition, agency officials won't answer seemingly innocuous questions about times and dates of meetings and telephone calls with the White House, the senators said.

Even Senator Joe Liebermann, the big Dem suck-up on the Iraq issue, is critical. Here is the justification for the stonewalling:

"There is a deliberate process, and the White House has always said it wants to cooperate with the committee but preserve any president's ability to get advice from advisers on a confidential basis," Duffy said. "And that's a critical need for any U.S. president and that is continuing to influence how we cooperate with the committees."

So, the White House is stonewalling investigations into a federal failure to aid our citizens in time of disaster because Bush doesn't want anyone to know what he's doing. In other words, there is a secret government going on inside the White House, and Bush wants to keep it secret. Time to oust the dictator.

How much longer?

You've heard it on the news, and here it is in print. The US Army is stretched to the breaking point. Recruitment is WAY DOWN, and re-enlistments are not forthcoming except in the face of higher and higher re-up bonuses. Even that will stop at some point.

Rumsfeld of course disagrees, but as the report's author (Andrew Krepinevich, US Army, Ret.) says, Rummy cannot publicly acknowledge that this is the case.

What I'm concerned with is what does 'the breaking point' mean? What will happen to our troops in Iraq? Will they have to just stay and stay and die there of either unfriendly fire or old age? How do you keep troop strength up without fresh troops?

Oh wait! I forgot about he Draft Database the Pentagon built last year. They've got every high school kid in America in there - or at least they're working on it. Give your kid the car tonight, and some mad money. You may not have her around much longer.

And yet another DeLay conspiracy

Prosectuor Ronnie Earle has issued subpoenas for records connecting DeLay to disgraced Rep. Randy Cunningham of California. Looks like Tommy-boy is even deeper into the Culture of Rife (with Corruption) than any of us knew. (Knew, not suspected.) There's just no end to the amusement the guy provides with all of his crooked connections being dug up.

Thanks, Tom. You're the first Republican to make me smile since Nixxon resigned!

The new Great Wall?

US law enforcement had a standoff at the border with Mexican soldiers, but are uncertain as to whether they were Mexican Government, or Mexican Drug Cartel soldiers.

In a news conference, Rick Glancey of the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition, said three Hudspeth County deputies and at least two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers squared off against at least 10 heavily armed men from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.

U.S. officials who pursued three fleeing SUVs to the Mexican border saw what appeared to be a Mexican military Humvee help one of the SUVs when it got stuck in the river, he said.

When that didn't work, a group of men dressed in civilian clothes started unloading what appeared to be bundles of marijuana from the SUV, and the stuck vehicle was then torched, he said. A second SUV had a flat tire and was left behind in the United States and its occupant ran across the border, he said.

Glancey said he could not confirm whether the armed men seen at the site were Mexican Army, police officers, or drug dealers, and would not detail what markings deputies may have seen on the men's uniforms or the Humvee.


But here is the part that really concerns me:
Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department said that Mexican army personnel had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border, the Daily Bulletin newspaper reported earlier.

"It's been so bred into everyone not to start an international incident with Mexico that it's been going on for years," Doyal said. "When you're up against mounted machine guns, what can you do? Who wants to pull the trigger first? Certainly not us."

Mexican mounted machine gun emplacements on US soil? Going on for years? In Bush's home state, where he was governor? Why?

Another failure brought to you courtesy of George Bush. Your tax dollars - NOT at work. Maybe it is time to build that long wall. If Bush isn't able to prevent Mexican machine gun emplacements on our soil, how the hell are we supposed to believe that he's keeping ANY terrorists out?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Saddam v Bush 2 (the rematch)

'Defence lawyers for Saddam Hussein Wednesday distributed copies of a lawsuit against President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for destroying Iraq'.

The list of charges in the lawsuit include he wishes to bring forward to the International criminal court includes ..

Using weapons of mass destruction and internationally-banned weapons including enriched Uranium and phosphoric and cluster bombs against unarmed Iraqi civilians.
Torturing Iraqi prisoners.
Destroying Iraq's cultural heritage.
Inciting internal strife.
Polluting Iraq's air, waters and environment.

Washington Times

Of course President Bush does not even respect the constitution of the United States and even if he did the US is not signed up to the International criminal court so this will end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture.

But when the Ex Iraqi dictator affectionately known as the 'Butcher of Baghdad' starts calling George Bush a war criminal and he actually has a point , surely the time for this President is nearly over ....

_H_

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Public School System

Stupid by design.

Lovely.

Bush's Spying Defense

OK, so in case you missed it yesterday, here are Bush's excuses for why we should let him spy on us.


"It's amazing that people say to me, 'Well, he's just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" asked Bush. One of those who had been informed, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was sitting behind Bush during his appearance at Kansas State University.


You briefed only the INtelligence Committee, not Congress, liar. Those people briefed wre prohibited by law from telling anyone else what youwere doing. Their letters to the White House (Dick Cheney specifically) in protest (Nancy Peolsi and Ted Kennedy both wrote, perhaps others as well) were unanswered - ever.



Back in Washington, Gen. Michael Hayden, the former National Security Agency director who is now the government's No. 2 intelligence official, contended the surveillance was narrowly targeted. He acknowledged that the program established a lower legal standard to eavesdrop on terror-related communications than a surveillance law implemented in 1978.

But the fact that the Bush Administration is refusing to provide any details makes this 'narrowly targeted' allegation highly suspect. Provide the details to Congress and prove it. Hiding the details makes this look like a lie.

Furthermore, just how does a spying program that is itself in violation of standing law ESTABLISH any legal standard, lower or not? The legal standard was established by Congress when it wrote the FISA law back in the 70's. You don't get to change that standard just by committing a felony violation of the law.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, government officials had to prove to a secretive intelligence court that there was "probable cause" to believe that a person was tied to terrorism. Bush's program allows senior NSA officials to approve surveillance when there was "reason to believe" the call may involve al-Qaida and its affiliates.

And since 'reason to believe' is not defined in law, except the Patriot Act which says it consists solely of Bush saying so, this should still be subject to Congressional review and hearings.



"It's what I would call a terrorist surveillance program," Bush said at Kansas State. "If they're making a phone call in the United States, it seems like to me we want to know why."
WHAT is this bullshit? If you know a terrorist is making a call in the states, why not just go get him? You know he's a terrorist. And if he's calling in to someone here, you don't need to spy on them. That gives you probable cause to pick up that person for questioning, or to spy on them legally under FISA.


He said he "had all kinds of lawyers review the process" to ensure it didn't violate civil liberties or the law.

Yeah, right. Lawyers like his pocket pets Alberto 'Torture' Gonzales and Harriett Myers, who would justify his rape of an 8 year old boy if he wanted to do that.


"I'm not a lawyer, but I can tell you what it means: It means Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics," Bush said.

First, authority to use force against the enemy does not constitute authority to spy on citizens or to evade existing law to do it. Second, not prescribing tactics means that Congress SPECIFICALLY DID NOT give you permission to do evade the standing laws pertaining to spying



Bush and Hayden sought to paint the program as vital to national security. "Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the al-Qaida operatives in the United States," Hayden said.
Not at all. Remember the 9/11 Commission findings? The CIA knew, the FBI knew, everybody knew, but nobody was talking to anyone else and nothing happened. There were even allegations made that information within some of the agencies was squelched. So if the NSA had intercepted a call, and knew of the plan, so what? Why should we think that that would have made any difference to a government that knew in multiple agencies what was going on and couldn't manage to do anything? It appears more and more as time goes on that Bush was up to his ears in 9-11 before it happened. And if that is true, the NSA knowing ALL the details wouldn't have made an iota of difference.

Worse than we thought

Bush said that 'nobody could have predicted' the Katrina disaster, but in fact, new information shows that it was predicted by a federal government exercise called Hurricane Pam - back in July of 2004.

Despite early warnings, plans to evacuate people from New Orleans in the approach of a catastrophic storm were only 10 percent complete a month before the devestating hurricane that accounted for more than 1,100 deaths.


"If you think soup lines in the Depression were long, wait till you see lines" at collection points in New Orleans, Transportation Department regional emergency officer Don Day said at a July 29 briefing with federal and state authorities.
---------------------------------
The plans were part of a government exercise, known as Hurricane Pam, to test the nation's preparedness for a catastrophe.

Pam, a "tabletop" exercise that began in July 2004, focused on a mock Category 3 hurricane that produced more than 20 inches of rain and 14 tornadoes. It found, among other things, that floodwaters would surge over New Orleans levees, creating "a catastrophic mass casualty/mass evacuation" and leaving drainage pumps crippled for up to six months.


And Pam was only a category 3 storm. So why did Bush and Brown and the rest of FEMA sit around with their thumbs up their asses for days instead of starting to deal with Katrina when they knew it would hit land? Really, would a hundred miles east or west have made so much difference that they couldn't do anything at all - which is what we got for 3 days?

Its not just jobs...

European investigations increasingly indicate that the US was outsourcing it's torture as well at it's jobs last year. There is not confirmation of any specific prison used for these purposes as yet, but it's not likely that Cheney will tell the CIA to hang a "CIA Secret Detention and Torture Dungeon" sign on the front - in any language.

The head of a European investigation into alleged CIAsecret prisons in Europe said Tuesday there was evidence the United States outsourced torture to other countries and it was likely European governments knew about it.

But Swiss senator Dick Marty said there was no formal evidence so far of the existence of clandestine detention centers in Romania or Poland as alleged by the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

"There is a great deal of coherent, convergent evidence pointing to the existence of a system of 'relocation' or 'outsourcing' of torture," Marty said in a report presented to the Council of Europe, the human rights watchdog investigating the alleged secret prisons.

The report said more than 100 terror suspects may have been transferred to countries where they faced torture or ill treatment in recent years.

"It is highly unlikely that European governments, or at least their intelligence services, were unaware," Marty said in the report.

So since there is no actual 'proof' as yet, it is no doubt continuing. And we can't know as yet if the torture work is being done by our team or outsourced to the lowest bidder (like Blackwater or Halliburton or Russia?). But isn't there another way to win a war beside body counts and torture? Whatever happened to all that 'winning the hearts and minds' fluff? I don't think electric shocks and beatings win any hearts.

Conservative wins in Canada

Recent news items have shown that most Americans didn't even know that Canadian elections were coming up. Now they're over, and a conservative (Stephen Harper) is to be the new PM.

Relations with the Bush administration will likely improve under Harper as his ideology runs along the same lines of many U.S. Republicans.

Harper has said he would reconsider a U.S. missile defense scheme rejected by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin. He also said he wanted to move beyond the Kyoto debate by establishing different environmental controls, spend more on the Canadian military, expand its peacekeeping missions and tighten security along the U.S. border to prevent terrorists and guns from crossing.
---------------------------
The Conservative victory ended more than a decade of Liberal Party rule and could shift the traditionally liberal country to the right on socio-economic issues such as health care, taxation, abortion and gay marriage. Some Canadians have expressed reservations about Harper's views opposing abortion and marriages between gays and lesbians.

So, will we have a new agreement between Canada and the US called the North American Free Spying Agreement (NAFSA)?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Is it obstruction again?

Tricky question - if lawyers for an accuse criminal 'game the system' in such a way as to tie up the case for months or years or even get it thrown out because of the gaming ploy, is that de facto Obstruction of Justice?

It seems Scooter Libby's lawyers are going to subpoena 'classified' information about Valerie Plame's job in order to tie up the case and prevent prosecution. The idea is that since that information is classified, it can't be presented in open court. And that fact will tie up the prosecution between public court and 'secret' court systems. Of course, it's all, um, legal. So Libby, who is accused of obstruction of justice, may never be prosecuted because of maneuvering that obstructs the progress of the case toward the acquittal he insisted he'd receive. Which makes me think that a conviction is looking more likely and therefore the effort to play the justice system.

What's more, since Bush now controls more judges than the Cocaine Cartel does, the subpoena is a pretty 'sure thing', as is decisions sympathetic to the gaming of the justice system all along the way. So, I ask again - are the lawyers protecting Libby from an Obstruction of Justice conviction by in fact obstructing justice?

Eminent Domain by popular vote

Activist citizens are trying to take Supreme Court Justice David Souter's home by eminent domain in order to build a hotel to benefit the community. Justice Souter voted to support this kind of action in a recent Supreme Court case involving homeowners in New London, CT, whose homes are being taken by the city in order to let a developer build a convention center.

What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Bull-pah

According to author Kurt Vonnegut, a 'pool-pah' is a shit storm one experiences when life is out of whack, or something like that - it's been a while since I read any fiction. So I'm going to warp his phraseology and use the newly invented word (by me) 'Bull-pah', which means a hundred year storm of Bullshit thrown up when somebody in government is totally out of whack with reality and wants to justify it.

And today it started, with the administration's defenses of the illegal spying on American citizens - here, and here, and here too. Oh, but that is just day one. The goal apparently is to so overwhelm the nation with claims about how good a thing this is that we actually start to believe it. I promise there will be more to come.

So, my question is that if this is such a good thing, why is the administration trying to hide any details from Congress? Certainly, I would buy off on it if the Congressional Dems had seen the details about who was spied upon, when, why and how often and they had all agreed that it was done within lines that would protect our freedoms. But the administration claims that to provide any information at all would 'tell the enemy' how they work.

Well, that implies that they think somebody in Congress is a terrorist sympathizer and would snitch the details to Osama, doesn't it? And that means that either the Bushies are incapable of even finding a high-profile terrorist (which means that the spying is useless and should be stopped), or they know someone in congress is a terrorist and they aren't doing anything about it.

Keeping the details secret also implies to me that they don't want to let the details out because they are NOT limiting their spying to known terrorists and their contacts, and the the details would be sufficient proof to the contrary. As long as they can keep Congress and everyone else in the dark it's hard to argue with the Bull-pah.

Halliburton poisons US troops

Halliburtion has been providing water to US troops in Iraq that was contaminated with raw sewage and untreated when delivered, according to company documents, and it was known six months ago.


"The level of contamination was roughly 2x the normal contamination of untreated water from the Euphrates River," Granger wrote in one of several documents.
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Granger's July 15 memo said the exposure had gone on for "possibly a year" and added, "I am not sure if any attempt to notify the exposed population was ever made."

The first memo on the problem — written by Carter to Halliburton officials on March 24, 2005 — was an "incident report" from tests Carter performed the previous day.

"It is my opinion that the water source is without question contaminated with numerous micro-organisms, including Coliform bacteria," Carter wrote. "There is little doubt that raw sewage is routinely dumped upstream of intake much less than the required 2 mile distance.

"Therefore, it is my conclusion that chlorination of our water tanks while certainly beneficial is not sufficient protection from parasitic exposure."

Carter said he resigned in early April after Halliburton officials did not take any action to inform the camp population.

The water expert said he told company officials at the base that they would have to notify the military. "They told me it was none of my concern and to keep my mouth shut," he said.

Now that's what I call supporting the troops!

How phony is this?

Today the announcement that Bush is going to start taking 'unscripted' questions from his audiences. Apparently they want to put a humanizing face on the dictator wannabe. And apparently the 'interview' with those troops in Iraq was just too blatently obvious in it's scripting - because they didn't take the time to find soldiers who could act instead of just recite.

So here is my first unscripted question for Mr. Bush: When will you stop screening potential audiences to eliminate any possibility of getting someone in there who isn't a cheerleader for you, and thereby take the risk of getting an unscripted question that isn't a softball from somebody who isn't on your team?

Question du Jour

Yet another denial from the White House about Bush knowing Abramoff. Seems they want us all to think that any of the many photos existing of the two of them together were done at fundraisers and such, and that the two people getting their pictures taken together didn't know each other.

This in spite of Time Magazine finding several pictures of them together. And in spite of allegations that Abramoff kept a photo of the two of them in his office which had been autographed by Bush [and here too]. So how is it that Jacko has a ph0to autographed by a man who doesn't know him? One claim made was that it was 'machine signed', but who would keep such a photo on display? And how is it that after nearly 200 contacts with the White House over the Marianas Islands alone Bush still doesn't know who he is? And how is it that Bush can claim to not know the man he called 'this administration's best friend' after the last election? A man who has supposedly visited Bush at the Crawford ranch in the company of Tom DeLay at least 4 times?

There may be something rotten in Denmark, but the stink is coming from The White House.



Shiny Happy People


Ford Motor Co. said Monday it plans to close 14 manufacturing plants in North America and cut between 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in the coming years as tries to stem it losses and adjust to its new, significantly lower market share.
But the Economy is great!







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