Saturday, April 01, 2006

They Eat Their Own

Jesus Christ in a thong. Bush doesn't even get William F Buckley Jr's support. How far he's fallen.
William F. Buckley Jr., the longtime conservative writer and leader, said George W. Bush's presidency will be judged entirely by the outcome of a war in Iraq that is now a failure.

``Mr. Bush is in the hands of a fortune that will be unremitting on the point of Iraq,'' Buckley said in an interview that will air on Bloomberg Television this weekend. ``If he'd invented the Bill of Rights it wouldn't get him out of his jam.''

He isn't too easy on the neo-cons either.
``The neoconservative hubris, which sort of assigns to America some kind of geo-strategic responsibility for maximizing democracy, overstretches the resources of a free country,'' Buckley said.

I'm sure Bush won't see Buckley's words. He doesn't read and no one would ever bring him bad news.

OT, but why does an 80 year old man still suffix JR to his name? Just asking.

We're All Americans

This is for my visitors from Canada, Mexico and South America.

I don't like the term Americans used to identify people from the US. Canadians, Mexicans and South Americans are all Americans.

But, outside the US, American = a US person. Even Canadians, Mexicans and South Americans use American to refer to US. So that's why I use that terminology.

Just so ya know.

Iraqi Clerics Encourage Attacks On US, UK Forces

Sometimes you just have to step back and re-evaluate the situation. The clerics don't see coalition troops as liberators, but as occupying forces.

Two years after U.S. authorities ceremoniously declared Iraq to be sovereign again, top religious leaders say Iraqis remain under military occupation, have a right to fight foreign troops and still don't govern themselves.

Their statements, made at the conclusion of a peace conference in London on Tuesday, provided a stamp of approval from Iraq's most influential Sunni and Shiite Muslim clerics for their countrymen to step up attacks aimed at hastening the withdrawal of U.S., British and other troops.

Call the people our troops have been fighting whatever you want to. Call them insurgents, terrorists, revolutionaries it doesn't matter. From here on they might well be all the Iraqi people. When the clerics speak, the people follow. That's how theocracies or religiously influenced governments work. Got that wingers? If the church speaks, you listen.

What do you need Bush, a fire lit under your ass? The Iraqis have asked you to leave, the US presence is causing more harm than good and the clerics have declared it open season on American troops. Just what more does it take for you to get the hell out?

Watch The Wingers Jump All Over This

Flag waving banned at Colorado School.
Dozens of high school students protested a temporary school policy forbidding students from displaying the U.S. flag - as well as flags from other countries - amid racial tensions following immigration rallies.

Up to now I've mentioned the only info the wingers will use. And they may stop reading at the first "-". But if you read on in the article, the ban makes perfect sense.
Skyline High School Principal Tom Stumpf said American flags were brazenly waved in the faces of Hispanic students and in one case a Mexican flag was thrown into the face of another student.

"When it involves the American flag and its abuse in vilifying other people, we simply will not tolerate it," Stumpf said. "They were using the symbol derisively as misguided patriotism."

This Is Just Too Funny

WWII lasted a little longer than necessary.
Whenever someone mentioned pancakes, without fail Thomas E. Jones would immediately think of Harry Truman.

It's an odd word association for sure, but it's understandable given Jones' unusual place in our nation's history.

On Aug. 14, 1945, Jones, a 16-year-old messenger in Washington, D.C., was entrusted to deliver to the White House the cable announcing Japan's surrender to the United States to end World War II.

Unaware of his cargo's import, the boy, in cavalier teenage fashion, put work on hold to eat pancakes at a diner, hang out with his friends and flirt with waitresses.

[update] It seems the account in the documentary isn't really true.

But it was a good story.

Just What Bush Was Waiting For?

It looks like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a death wish. He's giving Bush ample reason for an invasion.

Iran's military said Friday it successfully test-fired a missile not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously, a development that raised concerns in the United States and Israel.

The Fajr-3, which means "victory" in Farsi, can reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East, Iranian state media indicated. The announcement of the test-firing is likely to stoke regional tensions and feed suspicion about Tehran's military intentions and nuclear ambitions.

And Israel wasted no time in ratcheting up the rhetoric.
"This news causes much concern, and that concern is shared by many countries in the international community, about Iran's aggressive nuclear weapons program and her parallel efforts to develop delivery systems, both in the field of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev.

"The combination of extremist jihadist ideology, together with nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is a combination that no one in the international community can be complacent about," Regev said.

I'm sure this test and announcement had nothing to do with the US atomic test scheduled for June.

Note: That is a generic missle picture, not the Fajr-3.

Monkey Protecting His Kitten From Chicken

Cat Blogging

Check this out for a different kind of cat blogging.

Nope, I still don't have a cat.

The House Of Cards ContinuesTo Fall

An aide to Rep Tom Delay plead guilty Friday to conspiracy. This is where things could get interesting. The top dogs will try to protect each other, but the peons will fold. They were inside and know most if not all that was going on and they can bring down those above them.
A former top aide to Rep. Tom DeLay pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and promised to cooperate with a federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that has so far netted three convictions and prompted calls for ethics reform in Congress.

Tony Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, admitted to conspiring with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff both while Rudy worked for DeLay and after he left the lawmaker's staff to become a lobbyist himself.

He faces up to five years in prison, but could receive much less based on the extent of his help with the investigation, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle told Rudy at a court hearing in Washington.

As a top aide to DeLay in his role as House majority leader, Rudy took payments from Abramoff in 2000, then helped stop an Internet gambling bill opposed by Abramoff's clients, according to court papers.

Its slow and I wish we had a magic wand so we could have all the convictions now, but I'll take them as they come.

Did You Know This?

It seems things are getting dirty over in Iraq as in dirty munitions.
BRITISH and American coalition forces are using depleted uranium (DU) shells in the war against Iraq and deliberately flouting a United Nations resolution which classifies the munitions as illegal weapons of mass destruction. DU contaminates land, causes ill-health and cancers among the soldiers using the weapons, the armies they target and civilians, leading to birth defects in children.

Professor Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's depleted uranium project -- a former professor of environmental science at Jacksonville University and onetime US army colonel who was tasked by the US department of defence with the post-first Gulf war depleted uranium desert clean-up -- said use of DU was a 'war crime'.

Rokke said: 'There is a moral point to be made here. This war was about Iraq possessing illegal weapons of mass destruction -- yet we are using weapons of mass destruction ourselves.' He added: 'Such double-standards are repellent.'

This's the first I've heard of this and it makes me sick.

Friday, March 31, 2006

A Couple Things

In looking over my recent posts I noticed I forgot to include the adjective "idiot" before Bush's name. I was remiss in not doing so. You readers are free to insert that word each time I invoke Dear Leader's name. It is appropriate. Omitting that adjective is as dire as Wayne Uff's forgetting to add (weakener in chief) behind Bush's name.

I only mention Wayne Uff's name to influence the powers at Bad Attitudes to include me in their blogroll.

No politicing here, but truth is, Wayne Uff is good as are all the Bad Attitude posters. I recommend them hightly. Bad Attitudes is one of the first sites I visit daily. Wayne, Chuck, jerome, Bill and the others (Tom?) are the creme de la creme of blog sites. They have normally short, susinct posts that cut through the bullshit to the heart of any topic.

This Can't Be Good

Tuck and roll won't help. This is serious shit.
(Officials) said some 60,000 birds, mostly waterfowl, would begin their migration south from Alaska in mid-August, working their way down through Oregon, Washington and into California. Although both coasts have set up monitoring systems for any signs of the avian virus "we expect there will be access (to the United States) through Alaska rather than upstate New York," said Ryan Broddrick, director of the California Department of Fish and Game. He did not elaborate.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt warned against panic when avian flu hits U.S. shores for the first time, saying it would not inevitably mean the start of a human pandemic...

But he warned states to lay the groundwork for possible human to human transmission. "There is clearly a lot of buzz (but) I worry there is not enough busy-ness," he said.

I hope Boing Boing doesn't mind my lifting this whole post for you to read.

Jill Carroll's Release

Please check out this guy's posts about Jill. He is really on top of it.

Talk About Perfect Timing

I just posted on the subject of Bush's legacy and mentioned Nasa's climate scientist James Hansen and pow, the Kansas City Star (who's people are not bastards) has this story.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin announced new guidelines on information Thursday that allow top agency scientists to speak out on such controversial issues as global warming.


Two months ago, NASA’s top climate scientist, James Hansen, said that political appointees were trying to restrict information.

When Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, posted data on the NASA Web site indicating that 2005 could be the warmest year on record, agency officials ordered him to withdraw the information because it had not been screened in advance.

I'm impressed. Yeah, its posturing to deflect critisism, but it's also the right thing to do. And, for now, Hansen still has a job. It would be a shame to lose someone of his expertise and experience when we need both the most.

The Great Dictator's Legacy

With nearly 3 years still remaining in his term of office, Bush's legacy has already been written and it's fucked. Katrina was completely mishandled if not tantamount to criminal malfeasance.
A full recovery in New Orleans could take 25 years as homeowners, businesses and tourists are coaxed back to the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration's Gulf Coast recovery coordinator said Thursday.

Then there's the the national debt, which was a surplus when Bush took office, and has skyrocketed under his administration.
Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the [national debt] clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.

The clock's owner, real estate developer Douglas Durst, knew such a problem could arise but hadn't counted on it so soon.

"We really expected it to be quite some time," Durst told AFP. "But now, with the pace of debt growth only increasing, we're looking at maybe two years and certainly before President (George W.) Bush leaves office in 2009."

Oh yes, that illegal war.
President Bush suggested yesterday that US troops might stay in Iraq beyond his presidency, which ends in 2009, saying at a press conference that the issue of removing troops from the country ''will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq."

And we can't forget global warming and possibly the inevitable end of most life on the planet.
What James Hansen believes is that global warming is accelerating. He points to the melting arctic and to Antarctica, where new data show massive losses of ice to the sea.

Is it fair to say at this point that humans control the climate? Is that possible?

"There's no doubt about that, says Hansen. "The natural changes, the speed of the natural changes is now dwarfed by the changes that humans are making to the atmosphere and to the surface."

Why believe Hansen? Because he knows what he's talking about. To know the earth is his job at NASA. And he's good at it.
Hansen started at NASA more than 30 years ago, spending nearly all that time studying the earth. How important is his work? 60 Minutes asked someone at the top, Ralph Cicerone, president of the nation’s leading institute of science, the National Academy of Sciences.

"I can't think of anybody who I would say is better than Hansen. You might argue that there's two or three others as good, but nobody better," says Cicerone.

And Cicerone, who’s an atmospheric chemist, said the same thing every leading scientist told 60 Minutes."Climate change is really happening," says Cicerone.

These are all problems future administrations and the American people will have to deal with for many years. For the American people, probably for the rest of their lives if not their children's and grandchildren's lives they will be saddled with Bush's legacy.

No matter what party's candidate is elected president in 2008, 2012, 2016 and far into the future, that person will undoubtedly start every single day by saying, "God damn you George W Bush!"

Even with all I've of the above, I've not mentioned the war in Afganistan, the families of the dead and injured in both the Iraq and Afganistan wars, the seriously injured from both of those wars, the costs to care for those seriously injured troops, the distrust of America throughout the world and the stranglehold corporate America has over this country thanks to Bush. I know I'm missing other things. The laundry list is just too long.

This Guy Gets It. Bush Doesn't

Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jaafari spoke to the NYT. He wants to stay in office and wants to include militia leader al-Sadr in the political process. Which isn't something Bush wants at all.
With backing from Shia parties, Prime Minister al-Jaafari is seeking to stay in office but his candidacy has proved contentious among parliamentary factions, which have yet to agree on a national unity government three months after national elections.

In an interview with The New York Times published on Thursday, al-Jaafari said that certain comments from US officials had undermined the US president's public stance in favour of democracy in Iraq.

"There was a stand from both the American government and President Bush to promote a democratic policy and protect its interests," he told the paper in an interview conducted at his Baghdad home.

"But now there's concern among the Iraqi people that the democratic process is being threatened."

Its sad I feel a need to accept al-Jaafari's version of what has happened rather than that of the POTUS.
Al-Jaafari's comments came a day after the White House denied reports from Iraq that Bush had told a top Shia leader that he opposed al-Jaafari as the country's next prime minister.

What should irk Bush even more is the inclusion of al-Sadr.
Kurdish and Sunni representatives accuse al-Jaafari of running a sectarian-tinged government and collaborating with Muqtada al-Sadr, who leads a powerful Shia militia and controls a bloc of 32 seats in the parliament.

But al-Jaafari defended including militia leaders such as al-Sadr in the political arena, though he did not say in the interview what concessions he may have granted to al-Sadr, the newspaper reported.

He said he disagreed with Paul Bremer, the former US administrator in Baghdad, who barred al-Sadr and some other militia groups from participating in the political process.

"I look at them as part of Iraq's de facto reality, whether some of the individual people are negative or positive," he told The Times.

"Anyone who's part of the Iraqi reality should be part of the Iraqi house."

I've posted before that a leader such as Interim Prime Minister Allawi can be installed who won't have the backing of the people. Then you have natural born leaders like al-Sadr who does have popular support. There is no chance of success in Iraqi politics if al-Sadr is excluded.

Feeling Secure? Well Don't #4

A while back I posted that most Americans are certain the government is not spying on them. Bush is just after those old terrorists. Most Americans could be wrong. It seems the government has asked for search and internet records from 34 companies. That's right, 34! Via Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google and SEO
The full list of companies subpoenaed by the Department of Justice includes: 711Net (Mayberry USA), American Family Online, AOL, ATT, Authentium, Bell South, Cable Vision, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable Company, Computer Associates, ContentWatch, Cox Communications, EarthLink, Google, Internet4Families, LookSmart, McAfee, MSN, Qwest, RuleSpace, S4F (Advance Internet Management), SafeBrowse, SBC Communications, Secure Computing Corp., Security Software Systems, SoftForYou, Solid Oak Software, Surf Control, Symantec, Time Warner, Tucows (Mayberry USA), United Online, Verizon, and Yahoo.

Any of those companies happen to be your ISP, search engine or anti-virus software? Yeah, I thought so. But I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. You know you can trust Big Brother. Mwahahaha.

Now this isn't the NSA. Its the Department of Justice which is trying to uphold the 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA). But the data will be collected and will be within the government and can be used by other agencies if Bush decides it can.

Secrecy Above All For Bush

Apparently the Republicans don't want US to know what it is costing to have ourselves spied upon by the NSA.
The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday rejected a proposal to withhold money from the National Security Agency if the White House did not reveal information about the cost of the agency's warrantless surveillance program.

In a session closed to reporters, only Rep. Heather Wilson (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., who heads a subcommittee that oversees the NSA, voted with the Democrats to support the measure to hold back one-fifth of the agency's budget.

Then, we find in the same article, Bush dodged a bullet.
The committee also rejected legislation that would force the Bush administration to carve out $3 million for a board created in late 2004 to protect Americans' civil liberties from government infringements. Democrats have complained for months about what they consider to be Republican foot-dragging in establishing the civil liberties panel, formally known as the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

Now who in hell thought it was a good idea to create a board to protect American's civil liberties? Damn that was short-sighted. How can Bush secretly spy on Americans, read their emails and record the discussions with their doctors and lawyers if some nosey board is trying to protect their civil liberties? Isn't it bad enough having to deal with the ACLU?

Links R Us #3

I was already getting tired of that earlier "links" picture.

Crooks & Liars links to an fine article about Michelle Malkin in which the author wonders why she and her ilk are given mainstream exposure.

Eschaton (Atrios) links to this post. Maybe Rummy's headed for the door? No, that can't be right. Bush specifically said he will make no administration changes because he likes the people he has. Well, in this case it might be true because its possible Bolton would be the one given credit for hastening Rummy's exit.

Saudi Arabia building nuclear weapons? Via BuzzFlash. Well hell, lets just let everyone have them. Then no one needs to fear their neighbor. I'm kidding folks. Oh yes, aren't you glad I didn't add a mushroom cloud picture?

Links R Us #2

More sites for your viewing pleasure.

This story via Watertiger at Dependable Renegade. It seems Bush was told the aluminum tubes, which played such a prominent role in his justifying his invasion of Iraq, were likely to be used for conventional weapons and Bush was told this in writing.

WHAT THE FUCK? via Watertiger at Dependable Renegade. US will detonate an above-ground nuclear device near Las Vegas? Atlantic City should benefit. And I would definitely avoid the
for a while...a long while. Oh yeah, I stole the picture from Watertiger.

By the way, I'm starting to get more than a little concerned by the number of mushroom clouds appearing throughout the blogs, mine included. These aren't fucking toys people.

Iraq from a soldier's perspective via Fun with handgranades. Not that Hugh Hewitt doesn't have the same nightmares, being in danger as he is.

Dr Tom More over at The Moquol does a much more detailed post about the Democrats' security plan for the US than I did earlier. We both agree...we like it.

Someone is very concerned they see indicators that Bush is going to invade Iran. I picked this item up via BuzzFlash.

I've posted about this so many times it's too much trouble to link. If interested, just google search over in the right column. I'm sure I used one of two words so "invade iraq iran" or "attack iraq iran" should bring up most of those posts. Damn I get those two confused.

To be continued...

Links R Us

I've never done this before. Surprising because I'm so lazy, but there is just too much good stuff out there and it would be a shame if you missed any of it. So here are the links in no particular order.

First up is this article via Bad Attitudes. It is about paperless voting and why you should fear it. The implications are clear. You should get involved. Volunteers can help with polling and the more eyes the better chance no one will pull a fast one. You should also demand a paper ballot. Vote absentee if necessary, but give investigators the tools to verify the election.

Next up we have this transcript of the Imus in the Morning radio show via Back to Iraq. Warning: do not go there if you have just eaten or are just about to. This is seriously sick shit. The subject is recently release hostage Jill Carroll.

Then there's Molly Ivins. Regular readers probably anticipated this one. She's from Texas and knows of borders and fences and she says they aren't the answer. I like the little contest where they erected a chain link fence and contestants had to get from one side to the other. Fastest was 30 seconds.

Another is this story via Agitprop concerning the dustup over Scalia's alleged obscene gesture in church. Conclusion: its true. And they have the picture and Scalia quoted.

Glenn Greenwald has another excellent post. This one debunks the wingers who claim the following.
A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).

This one comes from one of my few commenters. The link is to his biography which is essential to establish his expertise. There is a link to his blog where he offers a free e-book (not tiny) about nuclear energy. Very interesting reading.

I've spotted some more good things and will post them soon sooner or later. This is a lot of work for a lazy person to do.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jill Carroll Released

This just in. A day to celebrate.
Jill Carroll has been released in Baghdad. After nearly three months, during which she was in the thoughts of every reporter in Baghdad, Jill is now in the hands of the Americans and will soon be on her way home to her family. This is the best news I’ve heard in a long time.

I’ve heard she was first released to the the Iraqi Islamic Party before she was taken to safety in the Green Zone.

UPDATE 3:29:57 PM +0300: It was the Iraqi Islamic Party who received her.

(read more)

Be Safe With Democrats In Congress

The Democrats came out with their plan for securing the US if elected. I like it. Its bold, doable and measurable. And they'll pay hell two years later if they don't deliver.
Congressional Democrats unveiled a national security plan Wednesday that they hope will erase their most significant political vulnerability in a pivotal election year.

It is the perception that they are too weak to defend the country.

Their most dramatic promise: If they win control of Congress this fall, they will vote on their first day in power to implement all the recommendations of the independent Sept. 11 commission. That, they said, would boost security at ports, airports, chemical and nuclear power plants, on mass transit systems and at the border.

But here's what really impresses me and is probably a more bold move than the above "dramatic promise".
In a hint of the investigations they might launch if in power, the Democrats also promised to hold the Bush administration “accountable for its manipulated prewar intelligence, poor planning and contracting abuses” in Iraq.

This was always a given. There was little chance a Democratic controlled congress would not lauch such investigations. But sometimes its necessary to explicitly tell the voters what they'll get for their votes. Its unfortunate they had to be so oblique in their wording, but it was necessary. I can say I would impeach Bush's ass, but they can't.

At any rate, this is one hell of a lot better than the "we can do better" meme that seemed to be all they could come up with.

(read more)

Defense Logistics Agency Innocent

Yesterday I posted about the Pentagon's investigating itself and finding nothing wrong. Today it's the Defense Logistics Agency. Well, they did find mistakes had been made, but only in the area previously identified by Knight Ridder.
The Defense Logistics Agency, completing an internal review of its $7 billion “prime vendor” purchasing system, has declared the program sound, although it overpaid millions for common kitchen items.

Congress ordered the review after a Knight Ridder investigation last year found that the Pentagon had paid $20 apiece for plastic ice cube trays that previously had cost 89 cents, and $81 each for coffee makers it had bought for years for $29.

So why wasn't Abramoff allowed to investigate himself. Seems only fair.

(read more)

The Next Abramhoff Fallout?

Ya see, this Ryun guy bought a house at a suspiciously lower price than one might expect it to sell for.

Rep. Jim Ryun on Wednesday denied allegations that he received a “sweet real estate deal” on a town house from a nonprofit group with connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ryun, a Kansas Republican, bought the historic Capitol Hill town house for $410,000 on Dec. 15, 2000. That was $19,000 less than the U.S. Family Network paid for the home about two years earlier in January 1999, despite a sharp rise in local real estate values in that time.

The house is valued at $764,310 for the 2007 tax year, but that's probably much higher than fair market value. Just threw that in so people can compare to their house's valuation.

Anyway now it gets better because the US Family Network who sold him the house was founded by Ed Buckham who used to be an aide to Tom DeLay.

When in history has their been so much inbreeding? No wonder they're all stupid. They probably share the same ancestors. And I don't mean in the very distant past.

To be fair, Ryan claims a housing inspector found problems with the house that would cost $20k to fix and no real estate agent fee was required. Now let's see if it comes out the inspector has connections to Abramoff or DeLay or Cunningham or Halliburton or... Well, the cast of available conections is longer than the voting rolls in Kansas.

(read more)

Bush Probably Won't Attack Iran For 30 Days

That's my interpretation of the latest news via the Associate Press. And is pretty much confirmed by the US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton. Dare I believe his words?
"The ball is back in Iran's court and we'll be here in 30 days to see what they say," he said.

He's referring to the UN Security Council's agreed to statement finalised on Wednesday.
The U.N. Security Council gave Iran 30 days to clear up suspicions that it wants to become a nuclear power and key members are already discussing further action if Tehran refuses to suspend uranium enrichment and allow more intrusive inspections.

After three weeks of intense negotiations, the 15-member council finally agreed on a statement Wednesday designed to put Iran on notice that even its closest allies — Russia and China — want answers about its nuclear program, and quickly.

Wiser people than I have contended countries don't fight as long as they keep talking. I do hope that's true. I've posted many times about my belief Bush is looking to invade and something has to happen to prevent it.

Unfortunately this whole scenario isn't starting out well.
Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif said his government would respond to the Security Council statement, but he warned that "Iran is a country that is allergic to pressure and to threats and intimidation."

"Iran is committed to nonproliferation and Iran does not want to produce nuclear weapons," he said, but "Iran insists on its right to have access to nuclear technology for explicitly peaceful purposes. We will not abandon that claim to our legitimate right."

What happens at the end of the 30 days is important, not only to US and the middle east, but to the world. Doh! What a waste of letters that sentence is.

Good News US Bloggers

If you're dropping into US open threads around the internets, post this so the blogger can read it. It is from Eschaton (Atrios) via NPR.
NPR's political money-tracker Peter Overby was floored by the ruling and the process by which it came about. He says it was a stunning example of everything going... right.

The process was characterized by a tone of civility not usually seen inside the Beltway. Granted, that's a pretty low standard. But Overby says initially when talks began, the FEC and good-government groups had no understanding of bloggers -- or much else about the Internet for that matter. Bloggers had no clue how campaign financing rules and regs worked. But somehow the two sides actually began to understand each other.

The core of the decision is a recognition that the Internet is a unique medium. In traditional politics, money buys influence. On the Internet, influence raises money. And a bunch of a little bloggers, each with a million readers, can have a big influence. But the FEC isn't worried about the little guy. As long as you aren't being paid by a campaign, nothing you do online will be considered a [political] contribution. Only traditional paid political ads on Web sites are subject to the old campaign rules. [emphasis mine]

Just drop the direct link. No reason to route them through my site even though that would be cool too. I keep telling you guys I'm a hit whore.

Nuclear Energy For America

You have to go to my source for the info, but Americans are more willing to sacrifice to reduce oil consumption than they are willing to sacrifice on electricity. Not surprising at all.

Relax, I only have 4 charts. Charts courtesy of Gallup News Service.

Understandably, Republicans are more accepting of nuclear power plants than are Democrats. Understandable because businesses tend to run Republican.

But, and you probably knew this was coming. Americans want nuclear power plants but not in their own backyard.

To their credit Republicans are more willing to have a nuclear power plant located near them. See? I can give Republicans credit when they deserve it. Let's see, that's once so far this year.

Now for your lecture. We have to reduce all forms of energy usage and not just oil. Nuclear energy, although clean has its own problems, not the least of which is an increasing volume of spent fuel we don't know what to do with.

Open Thread

Never tried one of these because, frankly, most seem to be chat rooms. But that's just my bias.

Rules: Pretty simple.

1. Try to bring something to the table.
2. Any topic is fine. Not limited to politics.
3. Keep it clean. Sure profanity is allowed. Hell, who am I to limit you?
4. Avoid attacking other commenters. Attack their ideas all you want, but not them. Also, challenge commenters claims if they can't back them up. We wanna learn.
5. No spam or links to pyramid schemes, rip-offs or enlarge-your-penis sites.

Guess that's about it. As for #5, I will delete comments and block commenters if necessary. I want everyone to enjoy exchanging info and ideas. And no, I won't delete posts or block people for chatting.

If this works out, there will be more open threads. If it gets abused, you'll never see another open thread here.

OMG. Got Caught Napping Again

I've had more hits in one day than I usually get in weeks. Why? because Mike's Blog Round Up over at Crooks and Liars featured this humble site.

Thank you Mike.

It isn't a large number of hits compared to the big guns, but an avalanche for this site. Site Meter displays my last 100 hits and I had over 5 times that!

So it is now time to report I've reached 2.083 visitors. Too cool.

Welcome Crooks and Liars visitors and all visitors.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Good Read From Asia Times

Sorry, but I don't have time to write a synopsis. Please go here for the whole story.

Title: What went wrong in Iraq? Wrong answer

Bush Intentionally Destabalized Iran?

Gawd I wish more people would step forward as Lawrence Wilkerson and now Flynt Leverett have.
The George W Bush administration failed to enter into negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program in May 2003 because neo-conservatives who advocated destabilization and regime change were able to block any serious diplomatic engagement with Tehran, according to former administration officials.

The same neo-conservative veto power also prevented the administration from adopting any official policy statement on Iran, those same officials said.

Lawrence Wilkerson, then chief of staff to secretary of state Colin Powell, said the failure to adopt a formal Iran policy in 2002-03 was the result of obstruction by a "secret cabal" of neo-conservatives in the administration, led by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Not only has he disclosed administration stupidity, deadly stupidity, but he gives great weight to the belief that Cheney has really been running things.

The Iranian negotiating offer, transmitted to the State Department in early May 2003 by the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, acknowledged that Iran would have to address US concerns about its nuclear program, although it made no specific concession in advance of the talks, according to Flynt Leverett, then the National Security Council's senior director for Middle East Affairs.

Iran's offer also raised the possibility of cutting off Iran's support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad and converting Hezbollah into a purely socio-political organization, according to Leverett. That was an explicit response to Powell's demand in late March that Iran "end its support for terrorism".

In return, Leverett recalls, the Iranians wanted the US to address security questions, the lifting of economic sanctions and normalization of relations, including support for Iran's integration into the global economic order.

Leverett also recalls that the Iranian offer was drafted with the blessing of all the major political players in the Iranian regime, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini.

The article, which has tons of info, ends with this.
But the damage had been done. With no direct diplomatic contact between Iran and the US, the neo-conservatives had a clear path to raising tensions and building political support for regarding Iran as the primary enemy of the United States.

So just how do those of you who say Bush isn't mad defend your position? He is mad and secretive in all his decisions. No one outside his bubble knows what he has in mind and what he is really trying to do or even if he is making the decisions. He's set himself up as a dictator in this country and is running head-on into a completely volatile middle east while acting as a puppet for the neocons.

Damn this tinfoil had fits too well.

I have a question for wingers and Americans in general, how much more do you need before you demand this idiot and, at least, Cheney be removed from office. Are you waiting until the first missle hits?

As I've asked before, isn't it fun playing with Armageddon?

(read more)

Iraqi Terrorists Have DVDs Of Jesus' Life

It seems the terrorists who held four Christian Peacemaker Team members showed them a DVD, in Arabic, of Jesus' Life.
A Briton who was held hostage in Iraq with three other members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams group said in an interview published Tuesday that the captives were shown a movie about Jesus.

Norman Kember, 74, returned home Saturday and thanked the soldiers who saved him and two other peace activists from a previously unknown Iraqi radical group.

"One night, our captors took us downstairs, sat us in front of the TV, and showed us the life of Jesus on DVD in Arabic. But these are the people who shot Tom Fox in the head. People are very complex," Kember was quoted as saying in the weekly Baptist Times newspaper. "Also, I think they wanted to keep us happy, so that we wouldn't try any desperate escape."

That ought to make the fundies' heads spin.

Now this is how to look at it as a winger would argue a similar situation concerning progressives.

Evangelicals, because they are devout, often have a DVD or two on Jesus. The terrorists have such DVDs. Therefore evangelicals are terrorists.

Yeah, that's a perfect argument.

Islam-Christian Convert Update

In an earlier post I said Italy was offering asylum for the Afgan man whose life is in danger if he stays in Afganistan. Now Germany has also offered asylum.

My advice: Go for Italy. Better weather.

SCOTUS Skeptical Of Bush's Military Court

This from the Kansas City Star (whose people are not bastards)
The Supreme Court gave a skeptical hearing Tuesday to the administration’s claim that the president can create and control special military tribunals to punish foreigners he considers war criminals.

Five of the eight justices hearing the case commented that the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions set basic rules of fairness for trying alleged war criminals. And they questioned whether the president was free to ignore those basic rules — as well as the rules of American military law.

I'll research to try to identify all five justices, but for now I know Breyer was one. And apparently Alito wasn't.

But here's where the KSS story gets good. Alito may have torpedoed Bush's case. Wouldn't that be ironic?
New Justice Samuel Alito said that the Supreme Court should not rule on the issue now. “In a criminal litigation, review after a final decision is the general rule,” he said. If Hamdan is convicted, he could file an appeal in the federal courts, he said.

That idea touched a raw nerve for most of the other justices. They sharply disputed the idea that Congress can bar the Supreme Court — or any federal judge — from hearing a “writ of habeas corpus” from a person held in U.S. custody [emphasis mine].

Jesus, as a boy I knew if I was the new kid in town I had better keep my mouth closed until I learned the lay of the land. What are the chances Alito could bring something to the table the others had overlooked?

Another thing I can't get from the story except by inference is that apparently the SCOTUS has determined it has jurisdiction. The administration contended they did not.

A Fucking Story From Those Bastards At The Kansas City Star

The title of the piece is What the *$%! kind of world are we in? You see, a family newspaper can't really use profanity. Ah, but bloggers can, damnit.
This is a story about words we can’t print in this report.

You probably hear these words often, and more than ever before. But even though we can’t print them — we do have our standards — we can certainly ask: Are we living in an Age of Profanity?

Nearly three-quarters of Americans questioned last week — 74 percent — said they encounter profanity in public frequently or occasionally, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. Two-thirds said they think that people swear more than they did 20 years ago.

So don't worry Kansas City Star, we've got your back on this. You keep it clean and we bloggers will take care of the flip side.

Couldn't pass it up. Sometimes these things write themselves. Or more precisely, the devil made me do it.

Illegal Aliens. We Can't Stop Them

Oh my goodness! I grabbed the wrong image to upload. Of course Michelle Malkin is legal. She is, right? Yeah, I bet she is.

There, that's better. Try as they might, the Border Patrol can't stop a determined population from crossing from Mexico into the US. This from a Christian Science Monitor story.
They stream in. Today, the same as yesterday. The same as the day before. Backpacks are stuffed with bottled water, soap, chips, maybe an icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe. They wear sweaters and wool hats for the cold desert nights.

It often starts here, in Altar, 60 miles south of the Arizona border, at one of the largest staging points for would-be migrants attempting to cross into the US illegally. The travelers arrive from all over Mexico, Central America, even as far away as Colombia, and Brazil.

They are going to "El Norte." They tell you that, straight out. And if they don't cross this time, they will simply try again.

While debate in the US continues over immigration reform policy, here, on the south side of the border, there seems to be consensus that enforcement measures will deter almost no one. "Walls and lights and sensors and police fill our heads," says Dagoberto Martinez, "...but they don't make us turn back."

Read one young man's story which is typical of many.

What A Surprise. Halliburton Overcharged US

You can file this under things I could never have guessed. Just joking. I'm no seer, but could have predicted this with a knife in my brain. Which I did and have the x-ray to prove it. That is the x-ray of the knife in my brain, not the prediction. That would just be silly.
Oil services company Halliburton repeatedly overcharged taxpayers and provided substandard cost reports under a $1.2 billion contract to restore Iraq's southern oil fields, a new report says.


The company said in a statement: "After two years and from thousands of miles away, it is easy to criticise decisions and actions that were based on urgent mission requirements and severe time constraints."

Halliburton said that the contract went through countless changes and review by at least 15 government contracting officials.

Halliburton is the largest private contractor in Iraq.

Actually I wouldn't have been surprised if the report said Halliburton is the only private contractor in Iraq.

But lets get back to that actions that were based on urgent mission requirement and severe time contraints bit. Hmmm.
In one case, the agency said Halliburton "tried to inflate cost estimate by $26m". In another, it said Halliburton claimed costs for laying concrete pads and footings that the Iraqi Oil Ministry had already installed. [emphasis mine]

The concrete pads and footings did go in in a timely manner. But Halliburton didn't do it. Nope, that just sounds like good old garden variety fraud to me. If they get away with it, there's a mall being built nearbye and I think I'll charge the developer for paving the parking lot. Beats earning money.

(read more)

America Worries

From a recent Gallup Poll. Its self-explanatory.

This is not really a chart. It's a surreal portrait of an aging population.

There are many other good polls listed at the link. Some seem to contradict this one because the most important item on some seems to be the war in Iraq. But notice the difference. This poll asks what do you worry about. The others ask what should be Bush's priority. So they're apples and oranges. And Iraq wasn't even offered as a choice in the Gallup.

And if you're one of the aged population, I apologise for the size of the chart.

Don't Argue With Republicans

This from Overheard in New York.
Receptionist: You should use tap water instead of Poland Spring to make coffee.
Secretary: You make coffee your way, and we'll make it our way.
Receptionist: How much do each of those jugs cost?
Secretary: What? Look, just...The water is brown and it smells bad.
Receptionist: The water is not brown and it does not smell bad.
Secretary: Well, you're entitled to your opinion.
Receptionist: Since when is a known fact an opinion?

The secretary has to be a Republican.

Pentagon Innocent...Again

This from Molly Ivins. Have I mentioned before how good she is? Yeah, thought so.
The Pentagon has once again investigated itself! And -- have a seat, get the smelling salts, hold all hats -- the Pentagon has once again concluded the Pentagon did absolutely nothing wrong and will continue to do so.

In this particularly fascinating case, the Pentagon investigated its own habit of paying people to make up lies about how well the war in Iraq is going, and then paying other people to put those lies in the Iraqi media, thus fooling the Iraqis into thinking everything in their country is tickety-boo. Well, if we can't fool them, whom can we fool?

There's much more to the article. Oh yes, the dog is innocent. You'll have to read about it.

Finally Someone Does The Right Thing

This from After Downing Street as posted by

A retired Washington State lawyer has filed a class action suit against Bush and Cheney. Yes!

Wallace vs. Bush, Cheney, et al
Submitted by yankhadenuf on Tue, 2006-03-28 14:30.

P.O. Box 60958 Reno, NV 89506


Date: January 18, 2006



The lawsuit filed on January 14th 2005 in US District Court in Reno, Nevada by retired Washington State attorney Douglas A. Wallace was served upon the Defendants at the office of the Attorney General in Washington D. C.

The class action lawsuit seeks an injunction against the Defendants from further implementation of the Plan for the New American Century (PNAC) without a Constitutional 2/3 vote of the Congress and full education of the American public. The lawsuit alleges the plan was the basis for deception behind the Iraq war. [cosmetic edit -ed]

The suit alleges that defendants acted in a conspiratorial manner among themselves in deceiving the Congress and the American public of the need to go to war with Iraq. Hence a private treaty among the conspirators to violate Constitutional restraints upon Bush and Cheney.

The delay in serving the defendants was the result of efforts to organize a support base among Americans to pay for the expenses of the lawsuit. Additionally, Wallace is currently seeking a re-instatement of his license to practice with the Washington State Supreme Court so that he may represent the class member plaintiffs.

In addition to the injunction Wallace seeks a ruling by the court that the conduct of the Defendants has been outside the scope of their official duties and that they are liable for damages to all persons injured as a result of the act of taking the country to war and for restitution to the Treasury of the expenditures for the war. [emphasis mine]

The [quite long] lawsuit may be read by visiting. "

I particularly like that highlighted part. It would great to see these two leave office destitute and unable to file for bankruptcy because, well, they trashed the bankruptcy laws. Payback's a bitch, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Way To Go Bush

North Korea shows intelligence by stating they will build their nuclear arsenal because Bush professes a need for preemptive attacks.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday vowed to build nuclear armed forces for self-defense against possible U.S. preemptive nuclear attack.

A signed commentary of the DPRK's official newspaper Minju Joson denounced a U.S. national security strategy report, which regards the DPRK as an "outpost of tyranny."

In an unusual display of clear-headed thinking kim Jong Ill has declared he will build up his nuclear abilities to defend his country from Bush. Obviously Bush believes in preemption and has used it. If a neighbor who hates you won't talk to you and buys a gun, wouldn't you?

Maybe words are just not tools Bush knows how to use. Diplomacy and discussion do work, but Bush seems to only understand brute force. It brings up the trite example that when you have only a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I agree Kim Jong Ill is dangerous.
He wields absolute power over the world's fourth-largest army in one of the most volatile regions on the planet.

But that's the primary reason to talk with him and not push him into a corner.

How many new, significant nuclear powers will develop before Bush leaves office? Worse, much worse yet, how many might use those nuclear devices?

Buh Bye

Oh yeah? Bush isn't going to change his White House staff?
White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will be replaced by budget director Joshua Bolten, President Bush announced Tuesday amid growing calls for a White House shakeup and Republican concern about Bush's tumbling poll ratings.

But we have reasurances there won't be any shake-up. hmmm.
Cheney: No White House Shake-Up

That was Cheney, but this is Bush.
"I am happy with the people I surrounded myself with," he said. But Bush did not rule out bringing aboard a veteran Washington operative to help soothe relations with an incr easingly restive Republican Congress, a move that aides said may happen soon.

That sounded like an addition to staff and not a replacement. Funny how someone Bush probably wants out of the way decides to resign.

Welcome To Poverty

If you can't read it, the sign says, "will design web pages for food!". Need an employee?

It seems GM will announce today it is going to cut some 500 salaried workers from its workforce. They want to cut 30,000 hourly workers, but this is equally devastating. Hourly workers have mechanical skills that translate to other occupations. Hell, they can go work for arms manufacturers who'll need more help just to keep up with demand.

No, that number of workers is the problem. Can that many be absorbed in the job market? Probably not locally and now you throw families into turmoil and flood the housing market because houses must be sold so the worker can relocate.

On the other hand, salaried people often have impressive, but less transferable skills. I've been there and can tell you corporations view salaried people as dime-a-dozen resources. It is difficult to stand out and impress the HR person in charge of hiring.

Now lets imagine you are in charge of laying off 500 people because your company is nearly tits up. Where would you start? Hmmm. Jack there is green because he's been with you for 5 months, but he's reliable and intelligent. On the other hand Leonard has experience. He's been here 16 years, knows the ropes and efficiently produces. Leonard is also an intelligent guy. Wow! Tough decision. But wait, Jack is paid $14 per hour and Leonard is paid $23 per hour. Hmmm. Toss in the benefits which raise those costs to twice as much and the decision is easy.

This is where everything gets very bad for all laid-off employees. They are probably too old for the job market. The oldest, higher paid workers go first. Age discrimination is unlawful, but there are hundreds of ways to "justify" yourself. I once worked in an organisation that was top heavy on experienced, high paid people so the whole organisation was eliminated because it was no longer needed. I admired the ingenuity of the move, but not the consequences.

Bush's Radio Address

Bush said nothing particularly surprising on Monday because he's Bush, but he did say a couple things that need explaining. I'll do it so White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan doesn't have to although he can Domenech my words. [I just invented a new verb]
America is a nation of immigrants, and we're also a nation of laws.

He forgot to add unless you're the dictator in which case there are no laws.
For decades, many illegal immigrants were released back into society soon after they were caught, because we did not have enough detention space. So we're adding more beds so we can hold the people we catch, and we're reducing the time it takes to send them back home.

Actually he meant we needed a new way to allow Halliburton to suckle at the government teat so he hired them to build a few new gulags to hold these brown skinned threats to the American way of life. Is it Bush's idea to lock up everyone he finds problematic?

Besides that, we have catch and release laws for fishing. Yeah, the picture makes sense now doesn't it?

You mean what's good enough for a trout isn't good enough for aliens? Seems rather unfair to me.
This [guest worker] program would create a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do.

He's saying we need this guest worker program because we can't get away with just enslaving people to do these jobs. It could, however, be argued that illegal aliens are enslaved because they can't demand good wages because they can't risk exposure.

Senate Committee Passes Immigration Bill

Most of the bill seems quite fair. In fact I was very impressed at how fair it is. The bill doesn't make it easy to become a citizen, but it makes it possible for millions of undocumented aliens.
Immigrant supporters claimed their first major victory since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks after a bipartisan group of senators approved legislation that would give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship.

Unfortunately, there seems to be one small part of the bill that may blow up in those aliens' faces.
The most contentious provision would permit illegal aliens currently in the country to apply for citizenship without first having to return home, a process that would take at least six years. They would have to pay a fine, learn English, study American civics, demonstrate they had paid their taxes and take their place behind other applicants for citizenship, according to aides to Kennedy, D-Mass., who was instrumental in drafting the legislation. [emphasis mine]

If a person has illegally entered this country and has found work there are several laws they've broken. I seriously doubt such people would file income tax returns.

Think about it. They are illegally in the country. They probably haven't had social security taxes withheld which also puts their employer in jeopardy. If they drive, they have undoubtedly done so without a license. Almost all worked in the US illegally. These people needed to stay as invisible to government as possible. Paying taxes would have exposed them.

Now the bill goes to the full Senate and that little part about the taxes may get excised. I hope so. They could provide for retroactive income tax payments which might be a financial blow, but wouldn't prevent the aliens' ever being allowed to become permanent residents.

(read more)

Islam To Christian Convert Released

We can just hope Afgan Abdul Rahman can get out of Iraq before some nut job kills him. Prosecutors had decided the man was not fit to be tried. Possibly a face saving admission, but we'll take it.

An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison after the case was dropped, the justice minister said Tuesday.

The announcement came after the United Nations said Abdul Rahman has appealed for asylum outside
Afghanistan and that the world body was working to find a country willing to take him.


Hours earlier, hundreds of clerics, students and others chanting "Death to Christians!" marched through the northern Afghan Mazar-i-Sharif to protest the court's decision Sunday to dismiss the case.

"Abdul Rahman must be killed. Islam demands it," said senior Cleric Faiez Mohammed, from the nearby northern city of Kunduz. "The Christian foreigners occupying Afghanistan are attacking our religion."

(read more)

This just in...

Italy's foreign minister will ask the government to grant asylum to an Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Feeling Secure? Well Don't #4

Maybe DP World wasn't such a bad idea after all. Seems we aren't doing very well at protecting our ports ourselves.
Installing radiation detectors at U.S. entry points is taking too long and costing too much, says a congressional watchdog agency whose undercover investigators breached security by slipping nuclear material into the United States.

In a test last year, the small amounts of cesium-137, which is used in industrial gauges, triggered radiation alarms in Texas and Washington state. The material was enough to make two small "dirty bombs," officials said, yet U.S. customs agents permitted the investigators to enter the United States because they were tricked with counterfeit documents.

Just joking, about DP World, not about the incident.

What He Said

Over at Glenn Greenwald's site they are trying to open up discussion on drugs because more lives are being ruined by the "war on drugs" than would occur without it.

I have to agree with Glenn and post this to facilitate the discussion.

No, I don't personally use drugs anymore and used very few/little when I did.

Sorry, forgot the link.

Must Read From Iraq

I tried to comment on this piece, but Blogger wouldn't handle it. Don't know if it is a Blogger problem or a military block.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bush Lied And The US Bought It

Here is what Bush said in a letter to Congress when he asked authorisation to attack Iraq.
Bush said any action against Iraq would be "consistent" with "necessary actions" against terrorists following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.

He specifically linked Iraq to the 9/11 attack. Let this guy claim anything he wants to, but he lied to Congress and the American people so he could extract revenge for daddy Bush.

If you blog, feel free to use this info. This is exactly what the lying son of a bitch told your representatives. How could they not support him?

Just for the record, Russ Fiengold didn't buy his bullshit.

(read more)

Fair And Just Justice? Maybe Not So Much

This from I posted earlier about a case coming before the SCOTUS concerning Osama bin Laden's former driver. My question is, will Justice Antonin Scalia recuse himself now that the following has come out?
"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," he says on a tape of the talk reviewed by NEWSWEEK. "Give me a break."

My earlier post linked to a story that said Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr should recuse himself because he has already heard this case in a lower court.

Wow! Instant 7 member SCOTUS? Just asking.

Feeling The Heat

From those alarmists at TIME we have the latest on global warming.
The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis will hit so soon—and what we can do about it.

No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you've heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

It certainly looked that way last week as the atmospheric bomb that was Cyclone Larry—a Category 5 storm with wind bursts that reached 180 m.p.h.—exploded through northeastern Australia. It certainly looked that way last year as curtains of fire and dust turned the skies of Indonesia orange, thanks to drought-fueled blazes sweeping the island nation. It certainly looks that way as sections of ice the size of small states calve from the disintegrating Arctic and Antarctic. And it certainly looks that way as the sodden wreckage...

No problem really. Fuck the Kyoto Protocol. Bush in his astounding arrogance sees no reason to limit greenhouse gases as life on earth is killed.


I've finally penetrated (figuratively) all US states. My plea to Vermont worked out and I now have all states visiting. Next I'm shooting for all countries. I'm also not holding my breath on that.

Damn I wish these states were all blue, but the site I used prefers red.

Who Are You?

I don't usually get personal on my site. I'm too boring. But I ran into an interesting item about identity theft in the UK and decided to offer something from my experience.

For years I shreded everything having my name, Social Security number, address, bank account numbers and such. I was even paranoid enough to use a cross-shredder that chopped such documents into tiny squares. It seemed to work. My identity remained intact.

Then, while on vacation in a foreign country, I had my laptop stolen. Great. It only contained all the info of my life including passwords, scans of my driver's license, passport, bank statements, birth certificate and so on.

Long story short. The thief was an idiot. He/she didn't realise what they had. If they did understand the information's importance, I might have had to fight to save my identity.

I still recommend shredding (why two "D's"?) and highly recommend not leaving your laptop unattended.

Did American Marines murder 23 Iraqi civilians?

That is the headline from the Independent.

In spite of what righties might think, I really, really hope this isn't true.
US military investigators are examining allegations that Marines shot unarmed Iraqis, then claimed they were "enemy fighters", The Independent on Sunday has learned. In the same incident, eyewitnesses say, one man bled to death over a period of hours as soldiers ignored his pleas for help.

American military officials in Iraq have already admitted that 15 civilians who died in the incident in the western town of Haditha last November were killed by Marines, and not by a roadside bomb, as had previously been claimed. The only victim of the remotely triggered bomb, it is now conceded, was a 20-year-old Marine, Lance-Corporal Miguel Terrazas, from El Paso, Texas.


The military still insists that eight men who also died on 19 November were insurgents who opened fire on a Marines patrol after the bomb explosion. One military spokeswoman said the civilian deaths were their fault, because they "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves". But numerous witnesses say the only shooting was by the Marines, and that the only difference between these victims and the rest were that they were young men who could be depicted as insurgents. Despite claims of a fierce firefight after the explosion, military officials say two AK-47 rifles were the only weapons recovered.

I can't imagine, not having been in their situation, how our troops can function when literally anyone could be the enemy. They watch one of their own die and want revenge. We do send human beings into battle, after all. I hope the inquiry is honest, transparent, thorough and exonerates these marines.

Have Faith Dems

A couple interesting articles. Yeah I know that isn't a real sentence.
Number one: If the midterm elections were held today, top strategists of both parties say privately, the Republicans would probably lose the 15 seats they need to keep control of the House of Representatives.

We as Americans can only hope.
Number two: House And Senate Ready To Go Democratic…

And hope and hope.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bloggers As News Sources

Oh my, but this is good. Well bad, but good. It appears the Associated Press has plagerized a blogger. This via the
Huffington Post
There are many things that bother me about plagiarism, but nothing irks me more than when a mainstream reporter (or organization) with all of the resources of a small nation at their disposal lifts from the small press, freelance journalists, and bloggers.


In response, several GLBT groups contacted us and issued a statement. We gave the advocacy groups our notes and article, which they then took to the AP and demanded that the story be covered. The AP was given our article and maybe our notes.

On March 14, 2006, the AP did their own article, left out any attribution to me or my publication and lifted not only my research but also whole sections of my article for their own (making cosmetic changes of course).

We contacted an AP senior editor and ombudsmen both and both admitted to having had the article passed on to them, and both stated that they viewed us as a blog and because we were a blog, they did not need to credit us. What we are or are not is frankly irrelevant. What is relevant is that by using a term like blog to somehow excuse plagiarism, the mainstream press continues to lower the bar for acceptable behavior.

The cold truth is bloggers are making a difference even the MSM can't ignore. Many bloggers have good sources and they are quicker at disseminating info. And not infrequently bloggers are more accurate than the MSM.

Many, if not most, journalists look down on bloggers because we have no editors and can post info which might be completely inaccurate. True charge.

I can say Bush is the illegitimate child of a liason between Bush 41 and Bush 43's nanny. Would I do that? Hell no I wouldn't. I wouldn't because, like the WaPo case involving Ben Domenech's plagerism, the internets would cry bullshit.

Bloggers are careful about having and crediting sources. We offer opinion, but facts must be linked. We bloggers let the reader look at our raw data. We open ourselves up to critique of our interpretation of said data. Not so for journalists.

Netroots Determine Democratic Presidential Candidate

I don't think I'll sell my house and bet on this, but The Kansas City Star picks up on story in the American Prospect.

From the liberal American Prospect, a scenario whereby Al Gore could end up running for president in 2008: Sen. Hillary Clinton “continues rolling forward … (but) anti-Hillary voters prove unable to coalesce around a single champion.” Still, she “attracts little genuine enthusiasm.”

At the same time, Clinton “sparks widespread disillusionment among the online activist community.” Inevitably, the Democrats’ liberal wing “begins calling for a Bigfoot of its own to enter the primaries, and the obvious prospect is Gore.”

Lots of good things there in the Star from GOP set to attack Roman Catholic Church, Pat Robinson rolling in dough, Sen George Allen posing for constituents and Sen Trent Lott suggesting celibacy for senators.

Quote From Dear Leader

Bush was speaking at the Mike Sodrel for Congress and Indiana Victory 2006 Reception. After mentioning 9/11 so many times you would have passed out playing the drinking game he said this.
And as freedom takes hold, the world becomes more peaceful. Democracies don't war.

Oh really? Try telling that to the Iraqi's who are being killed by the US, the UK, Australia, Italy, South Korea, etc. I was under the impression they are democracies and are warring.

Sen Russ Feingold (D-Ghost) Invisible To

This is the headline at
McCain urges Iraq to form government

The story carries quotes from Republican Senator McCain and not one from Feingold who also urged Iraq to get busy forming a unity government. How do I know? Because I checked out MSNBC.

MSNBC had this headline.
McCain, Feingold pressure Iraq’s leaders

Their story includes the words of both senators.

Hmmm. Interesting. Wonder if there's any more info out there.

How about Agence France-Presse (AFP)? Here's their headline.
US congressmen pressure Iraqis on government

AFP's story [their photo], while emphasising McCain's words, also quotes Feingold, identifies several others in the delegation and includes a quote from Representative Thomas Udall (D-NM).

MSM dictates what you see. They decide what's important for America to know. Read only and you won't know other senators as well as state governors were also pressuring Iraq.

There may be more stories out there and I might eventually have found all of Washington DC was in Iraq. But I got bored looking.

Supremes To Be Asked To Limit Presidential Powers

This could be very interesting indeed. The actual case concerns Osama bin Laden's former driver, but any decision could affect just what powers Bush has.
Seized by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Osama bin Laden's former chauffeur is now seeking victory over President Bush in a new arena: the Supreme Court.

In oral arguments Tuesday, an attorney for Salim Ahmed Hamdan will ask the justices to declare unconstitutional the U.S. military commission that plans to try him for conspiring with his former boss to carry out terrorist attacks.

The case is complicated. Even experts are finding it difficult to predict what might happen. And it will directly challenge the powers Bush has granted himself.
Whether designating an American citizen as an "enemy combatant" subject to military confinement, denying coverage under the Geneva Conventions to detainees at Guantanamo, or using the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on domestic communications, Bush has said that the Constitution and a broadly worded congressional resolution passed three days after Sept. 11, 2001, empower him to wage war against terrorists all but unencumbered by judicial review, congressional oversight or international law.

In an earlier post today I opined our chances of saving the republic from being a dictatorship may lie with the mid-term elections. Wouldn't it be ironic if a terrorist came to our rescue?

(read more)

Bush To Iraq: You're On Your Own

Walking away from a total mess of his own making is definitely Bush's style and Iraq just has to live with that.
The head of the U.S.-led program to rebuild Iraq said Thursday that the Iraqi government can no longer count on U.S. funds and must rely on its own revenues and other foreign aid, particularly from Gulf nations.

"The Iraqi government needs to build up its capability to do its own capital budget investment," Daniel Speckhard, director of the U.S. Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, told reporters.

The burden of funding reconstruction poses an extraordinary challenge for a country that needs tens of billions of dollars for repairing its infrastructure at the same time it's struggling to pay its bills. Iraq's main revenue source - oil - is hampered by insurgent attacks on production facilities and pipelines, forcing the country to spend $6 billion a year on oil imports.

The thing is, if Halliburton hadn't been involved, Iraq would probably have a lot less reconstruction to do.

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