Saturday, April 22, 2006

Condi Is A Leaker Too?

Anything is possible with this administration. I'm going out on a limb here and wouldn't be surprised if I'm labeled an anti-semite although such a label is erroneous, but leaking intel to any country other than Isreal is wrong?
Condoleezza Rice's spokesman on Saturday branded as "utterly false" a lawyer's claim the secretary of state leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist charged with receiving and disclosing such information.

The assertion came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, the former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee charged in the case.

"The claims by these defense lawyers are utterly false," Rice's spokesman, Sean McCormack, told The Associated Press.

"The secretary is the most careful person in the handling of classified information and she absolutely did not convey classified information to either of these individuals," McCormack said.

Prosecutors also disputed the claim.

Bush VS The World

I'd like a little help here folks. Can you tell me anything Bushco has done that they would not condemn any other country for doing? Anything?

They kidnap, torture, lie, imprison people with no trial, attack other countries without provocation, spy on thier own people, censor those who disagree, steal elections (at least they allow elections), break the law, take money from the public and give it to their friends, break international treaties and ignore the Geneva Convention. Well, you get the idea.

Cat Blogging

Of course I have no cat.

Help me here folks. Can you think of anything Bushco has done that they wouldn't condemn any other country for doing? Anything?

And We They Have A Winner In Iraq

Iraq may have found a suitable prime minister. Suitable because the differing factions can accept him.
The Shiite alliance nominated a tough-talking Shiite politician, Jawad al-Maliki, as prime minister Friday in a move that breaks the long impasse over forming a new government aimed at pulling
Iraq out of its sectarian strife.

Al-Maliki replaces outgoing Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, whose attempt to stay for a second term had raised sharp opposition from Sunni Arab and Kurdish leaders and caused a deadlock that lasted months as the country's security crisis worsened in the wake of last December's election.

Sunni and Kurdish politicians signaled they would accept al-Maliki — a close ally of al-Jaafari in the Shiite Dawa Party — clearing the way for parliament on Saturday to elect top leadership positions, including the president, and launch the process of putting together a government.

The question is whether or not he will marginalise the Sunni and Kurdish factions.
Al-Maliki has a reputation as a hardline, outspoken defender of the Shiite stance — raising questions over whether he will be able to negotiate the delicate sectarian balancing act.

Dennis Is Back

More posting later. For now I just want to mention Dennis Perrin's back. Take a look.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Public Does Not like Bush's Policies

No date was given for this poll, but the entry was dated 4/20 so I believe it to be a recent survey.

A very revieling poll shows Americans want new policies and not those of the current administration.

Maybe there is hope for the American people. They are slowly waking up to the shitstorms© being created by Bushco and they don't like what they see.

Just kidding. Shitstorms isn't really copyrighted as far as I know.

You Know There Are Two Washingtons?

It looks like Bush might do well to take a little trip to Washington State. Maybe he can figure out why President Hu Jintao of China spent most of his trip to the US in Washington State and not Washington DC.

Maybe the folks in Seattle, Redmond and Everett know a little more than Bushco does about how to treat China? Maybe Jintao likes the apples*?

*Not paid for by Washington Apple Commission. Don't click on link. It is teh lame.

Nigeria to settle Paris Club debt

Forgive me, but I just couldn't pass this one up.
Nigeria will pay off its multi- billion dollar Paris Club debt on Friday, becoming the first African nation to settle with its official lenders.

The move may clear the way for greater government spending on infrastructure, healthcare and education, and is hoped will prompt greater foreign investment.

It looks like they've found enough suckers to fall for their get-filthy-rich email scams.

Not Safe For Work: Should Keep Fundies Busy

This isn't gonna go over very well with the fundamentalists.
Broadcast TV has had enough and won't take it anymore. It's lost too many viewers to cable shows like "The Sopranos" and appears eager to air more sex, violence, and obscenities. So last week, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC sued the Federal Communications Commission over its curbs on indecency.

Specifically, the suit, joined by many local stations, challenges a March 15 FCC ruling that found some broadcasts of ABC's drama "NYPD Blue," the CBS News program "The Early Show," and "Billboard Music Awards" on FOX to contain obscenities. But behind this suit is a worry that the increasingly tough rulings by the Federal Communications Commission might result in fines that could really cut into TV stations' profits. And they fear the FCC might start yanking the licenses of errant broadcasters.

Broadcasters believe the current SCOTUS might be inclined more toward ruling in favour of free speech than was the court back in 1978.
By suing now, broadcast TV is banking on a Supreme Court that's become more legally conservative, one that may put more weight on free speech and overturn its 1978 ruling that upheld the FCC's authority to curb indecency. (Congress, pressured by parents, won't aid the TV lobby.)

I've always contended its the parents who should protect their children in such matters and not the government. When my children were very young we had cable. We didn't care if they saw nudity or heard profanity (they heard plenty from me). We did make sure their friends' parents knew, before their children came over, that they would be exposed to the uncensored cable programming. They could decide if their children would be allowed to come over. That was their job.

My kids grew up as healthy and, point of pride, good people just as we thought they would. And I don't think children are being hurt by the Naked News broadcasts. No, that picture isn't a parody. If you are unaware of it, this is real news anchored by women who strip as they deliver the stories. Its available throughout the world and even on mobile devices. BTW I cropped the original picture. They really are nude.

Sure Hope Kerry Doesn't Do It

The other day I read speculation about Al Gore's running in '08. Ok, I can understand and would like to see him do it, but not Kerry. I know he came close, but I don't see him beating McCain who I believe will be the Repug candidate.
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said on Thursday he was seriously thinking about another White House bid in 2008 and will decide before the year is out.

"I will make that decision toward the end of the year, but I'm thinking about it hard," Kerry said in response to a question at the Latin Economic Forum at the United Nations.

Just so I'm clear on this. I like Kerry, but pragmatically I just don't see him as a viable candidate. And I don't see him capable of beating Clinton.

Nearing Time For Change

Apparently the American public is tired of having Repugs in control of government and they're inclined to do something about that in November.
The American public is angry with Congress, and this is bad news for the Republican Party. The belief that this Congress has accomplished less than its predecessors is markedly higher than at any point in the past nine years, and by a wide margin Republican leaders are blamed for this. Many more voters than in the recent past say the issue of partisan control of Congress will be a factor in their vote in November. And as has been the case since fall, voters are significantly more inclined to vote for Democrats than Republicans - by a 51% to 41% margin.


Bush Is SO Lame

This must kill Faux News. Among the 7 latest opinion polls on Bush's job approval rating, their poll shows him the lowest.

A quote from Randi Rhodes.
This president is manifestly insane. Donald Rumsfeld is insane.


(read more)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Must Read IMHO

Big Shot Bob nails it.

I'm becoming worried about Bob because he's getting too serious. Even so, you need to read this item.

Tough Love From A Texas University

Ain't it great when a students have someone looking out for them?
Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which bills itself as the world's largest Baptist college, has threatened to discipline female students if they pose for Playboy magazine, which is trying to recruit models from the college.

Playboy photographers came to Baylor's hometown seeking models for a photo spread on women of the Big 12 college athletic conference, of which the college is a member.

Baylor Vice President for Student Life Samuel W. Oliver sent an e-mail to women students this week warning that any who "associate" with Playboy would be subject to the university's disciplinary processes.

"Playboy is clearly antithetical to Baylor's mission and associating with the magazine would be a violation of the code of conduct," Oliver wrote in the e-mail. University officials said punishment could include suspension.

Probably some students would choose to pose for the magazine. There always seem to be a few willing to do so. Some of them may regret their decision later. But their school has no right to interfere. Its their decision to make.

There are many good Texas Universities. Hey, Baylor coeds... transfer. Find a school that allows its students freedom to live their lives on their own terms without interference. Just a suggestion.

Do I get credit for showing restraint in my choice of picture?

Soapbox time: This's a good example of a situation that really pisses me off. I don't care if it's my school, employer, neighbor or government, keep your fucking nose out of my affairs if I'm not breaking the law or hurting anyone.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari Backs Down

This should help as it was a major stumbling block to forming any kind of parliament in Iraq.
Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari climbed down from his insistence he would lead the next government, saying his fate would be decided by the country's dominant Shiite alliance.

The development came just hours before parliament was to meet for only the second time since a landmark election in December, with leaders still squabbling over top government posts despite international pressure for a rapid accord.

"Jaafari has left the decision about his candidacy with the alliance," said Shiite lawmaker Jawad al-Maliki, a key leader in the conservative Shiite bloc, the United
Iraq Alliance.

"Mr Jaafari told the alliance today that it was up to it to decide whether it feels it is necessary" to have him as the next premier, "which means he is no longer insisting on the post," Maliki told reporters.

"Now it will be the alliance which will decide."

I HopeThis Is An Example Of The Real American People

In a showing of compassion rather than revenge, family members of those killed on 9/11 testified in defense of Zacarias Moussaoui.
In a trial where role reversals have been commonplace, family members of 9/11 victims testified in support of the man who has taken glee in their relatives' death and sounded a common theme: We don't want to succumb to feelings of revenge.

Six family members took the witness stand in Zacarias Moussaoui's defense on Wednesday, and more were expected to testify Thursday. Moussaoui's lawyers hope the testimony will counter the emotional impact of nearly four dozen witnesses who gave heartbreaking testimony for prosecutors about the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Court rules prohibited witnesses on either side from opining on the choice jurors will face when deliberations begin next week — whether Moussaoui should get the death penalty or life in prison.

But the defense witnesses left an unmistakable message about their view.

Not all Americans believe in an eye for an eye. Unfortunately, I've no doubt these people are going to be hounded by others who see them as terrorist sympathizers. Because their names have been published, they may even have to uproot their families to escape attack.

Most likely the winger blogs and talk radio will get great mileage out of this.

(read more)

US Counterfeiting Own Money?

Now a few weeks back this would have been something I'd just shrug off. I mean it is coming from NoKo, but then there were disclosures Bush wanted to paint a spy plane in UN colors and send it over Iran. His hope was Iran would shoot it down, or at least at it, thus provoking a US attack. Now I'm not so sure this claim is idle.
North Korea has charged the United States with counterfeiting its own currency and shifting the blame to Pyongyang, adding artists with "blood-shot eyes" in Japan are making cartoons attacking Pyongyang's leaders.

A spokesman for the Ministry of People's Security said in a statement the North had obtained "shocking evidence" Washington and Tokyo are producing false material that gives the impression Pyongyang is a criminal state, the North's KCNA news agency said late Wednesday.

"The CIA secretly enlist(s) experts on counterfeiting notes claimed to be the 'most sophisticated in the world' and invite(s) them to issue lots of fake currencies at 'counterfeit notes printing houses of North Korean-style' operating in U.S. military bases in different parts of the world," the spokesman said.

Can you say regime change? Yeah, I thought you could.
Officials from the United States, Japan and other regional powers have been trying to get North Korea to return to stalled talks on ending Pyongyang's atomic programs.

The talks have hit a snag over a U.S. crackdown on firms Washington suspects of aiding North Korea in illicit activities such as counterfeiting and drug trafficking.

North Korea has said it is unthinkable for it to return to the nuclear talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States when Washington is trying to topple its rulers through financial pressure.

(read more)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Molly Ivins Examines Rove. Not THAT Way!

Oh my! That crazy Karl Rove guy. Read and learn what is coming. This guy's a hyena or, at least, a snake and has to be watched constantly.

Scientists Try To Stop The Nuking Of Iran

Its very doubtful these scientists will have any affect on Bushco's thinking actions, but we can hope.
Thirteen of the nation’s most prominent physicists have written a letter to President Bush, calling U.S. plans to reportedly use nuclear weapons against Iran “gravely irresponsible” and warning that such action would have “disastrous consequences for the security of the United States and the world.”

The physicists include five Nobel laureates, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and three past presidents of the American Physical Society, the nation’s preeminent professional society for physicists
These people know of which they speak and you get the feeling as you read their words they're scared shitless. The letter is calm of tone and professional, but there's a sense of desperation to it.

I'm no lawmaker and don't know how this should be done, but I'd like to see a bill introduced to the affect that Congress does not authorise Bush to attack Iran without Congressional approval. Should he so do, he will be committing an illegal act which will automatically effect impeachment proceedings.

This bill would then be duplicated, as necessary, naming Syria or Palestine as the attackee. Each bill would be designed to stop an impending attack subject to dire consequences for Bush.

Yeah, sometimes I'm a real dreamer.

(read more)

One Of DeLay's Friends Suspected Of Smuggling Cocaine

Tom Delay has connections to some interesting fellows.
One of the two owners of the DC9 (tail number N900SA) busted at an airport in the Yucatan last week after lumbering in from Caracas, Venezuela carrying an astonishing 5.5 TONS of cocaine was appointed in 1993 to the Business Advisory Council of the National Republican Congressional Committee by then-Congressional Majority Leader Tom Delay, The MadCowMorningNews can exclusively report.

Who is one of the owners?
The Delay appointee in question is Brent Kovar, owner of a firm called Skyway Communications Holding Corp. The firm ran into a few problems between 2002 and 2005 -- in fact, it lost $40 million and had to file for bankruptcy.

But Kovar has a plan.
And in this very revealing article from the Tampa Bay Business Journal, we learn that Skyway planned to get out of its hole by relaying [sic] on certain "white knights." And who were these worthies...?

"A venture capital group is ready to do this," he said citing talks with some of the original Arab investors, and "the end result is it's going well," Kovar said.


Oh no.

So let's get the chronology straight. Kovar's company hits bankruptcy court. He tells the judge that mysterious "Arabs" will soon bail him out. Next thing ya know, his DC9 is caught hauling in tons of nose candy.

There isn't much point to this story except to point out one friend of DeLay who won't be called as a character witness.

To be fair, neither this story nor any other I could find even suggested any connection between DeLay and the coke.

Oh yeah, I liked the term "white knights" were coming to save Kovar. Was he referring to packets of white powder? Just asking.

Note: The picture is of a different bust of 3 metric tons of cocaine, just to put the 5.5 tons in perspective.

Blogs As News Sources

The MSM doesn't want to use bloggers as news sources, but the CIA does. Teh funny.
President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.

"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.

I especially liked their assessment that bloggers, among others, are "...putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else."

Many of my posts have included info gleaned from foreign news sources. Its info not available in the MSM for whatever reason. A good example is my post in February about permanent military bases in Iraq. The MSM was ordered not to report such news. Of course, the CIA did know about those, but it took 2 months before the Pentagon admitted they were building them.

Now I'm sure they aren't briefing Bushco on my little blog posts because they would have to redact "idiot", "fucking idiot", "stupid", "asshole" (actually haven't called Bush that...yet), "idiot-in-chief", "loony", "dim son", well, you get the idea.

Illegal Aliens And "Restitution"

There is just too much in this article to distill for you, so I suggest you go read it. Here is a small piece of a fine article.
In the current debate over creating a new path to "legalization" for undocumented immigrants, the notion of "earned citizenship" – as promoted mostly by liberal and centrist politicians – has emerged as the pragmatic way forward.

It appears widely accepted that undocumented immigrants owe something for entering the country illegally, and that the debate on Capitol Hill is around only whether they should be allowed to make restitution.

On the conservative side, politicians and anti-immigration activists argue that anyone in the country illegally should be kicked out immediately, if not charged as a criminal. Meanwhile, liberals say that paying hefty fines and any back taxes should be enough to place some undocumented immigrants on the waiting list for a green card that could eventually lead to citizenship.

But some immigrants-rights groups are challenging the idea that undocumented workers owe a debt to US society and that they should be required to pay to obtain legal status.

The fact is, most illegal immigrants have been paying their own way and may actually have money due them from employers and the federal government.

Here We Go Again - UAE

Here come those good folks from Dubai again. It seems they're buying a UK company which works on weapons for US war planes. Hmmm.
In a deal similar to one that led to the Dubai ports furor in the US earlier this year, Dubai International Capital has purchased for US$1.24 billion Doncasters Group Ltd, a private British aerospace manufacturer that works on sensitive weapons programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The administration of US President George W Bush is conducting a security review of the takeover, and then it will present its findings to Congress, where many of the same factions that

expressed concern and outrage over the ports deal are beginning to grumble about the Doncasters takeover.

The planes are the only 5th generation fighter aircraft in production. They're intended for the US Marines, Navy and Airforce as well as for the British Marines and Royal Airforce.

If Congress squashes this deal its really gonna piss off Bushco.

(read about JSF)

Gay Marriage Problem Solved

The Defective Yeti has the answer.

More Open Government

This is disturbing news. As if Bushco isn't secretive enough, now they want to sift through Jack Anderson's papers so they can classify things they don't want the public to see.
During his life and career as a muckraking journalist in Washington, Jack Anderson cultivated secret sources throughout the halls of government -- sources who passed on information that allowed Anderson to investigate and write about Watergate, CIA assassination schemes, and countless scandals. His syndicated column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, earned him the enmity of the corrupt and powerful -- so much so that during the Watergate years, associates of Nixon had discussed assassinating the columnist. They never went through with the plot. Anderson died last December at the age of 83.

His archive, some 200 boxes now being held by George Washington University's library, could be a trove of information about state secrets, dirty dealings, political maneuverings, and old-fashioned investigative journalism, open for historians and up-and-coming reporters to see.

But the government wants to see the documents before anyone else.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have told university officials and members of the Anderson family that they want to go through the archive, and that agents will remove any item they deem confidential or top secret.

The Andersons, who have not yet transferred ownership of the archive to George Washington University, are outraged. They plan to fight the FBI's request.

Were he alive today, Jack Anderson "would probably come out of his skin at the thought of the FBI going through his papers," said Kevin N. Anderson, the journalist's son. If papers were taken -- even if some were stamped "declassified" and returned -- that would "destroy any academic, scholarly, and historic value" of the archive, Kevin Anderson adds.

The FBI would not comment for this article.

Another Must Read

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bush Approval Ratings Wipeout

The latest Gallup Poll on Bush approval isn't kind to dim son. He only garnered 36%.

And this is how it breaks out by party affiliation of the people polled.

Now I've friends who are Republicans. We know not to discuss politics lest we become killer and victim. What I don't understand is how anyone with a modicum of intelligence can approve of anything Bush is doing. Seventy four percent?! Hell, he was even a turd about the Easter egg roll.


Wow!!!11! Let's All Vote!!

Is that title enthusiastic enough? The latest USA Today/Gallup Poll shows something very interesting. It seems Democrats are becoming more enthusiastic about voting.

The Republicans are significantly less enthusiastic. Maybe the bad press is hurting the GOP while suggesting to the Dems they have a chance of winning.

Can you say mo-men-tum? I knew you could.

(read more)

Bernstein Calls For Full Bush Probe

Its about time he logged in on this.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein, who with Bob Woodward helped expose President Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal, Monday called for the U.S. Senate to open a full-scale probe of President Bush's conduct in office.

I particularly like how he put the following.
"We have no trustworthy official record of what has occurred in almost any aspect of this administration,"

He's right about that. Lying comes so easily to these thugs its impossible to know if there are any truths in what they say.

(read more)

Success Is Everything To Bushco

They'll cheat on anything just to look good, even the No Child Left Behind program.
States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law's requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.

With the federal government's permission, schools deliberately aren't counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.

Minorities — who historically haven't fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising. [emphasis mine]

I can understand why schools would go along with this subterfuge. They're already strapped for money. They don't need federal fines for falling short in testing. But what will we tell the children? Why do they have to take an exam which will be thrown away?
Overall, AP found that about 1.9 million students — or about 1 in every 14 test scores — aren't being counted under the law's racial categories. Minorities are seven times as likely to have their scores excluded as whites, the analysis showed.

Does this matter, really? You bet your sweet ass it does. There is absolutely no incentive to pull the poorer students up. Let them fail. Let them leave school with practically no education. It keeps the minorities from improving their lot. It keeps minorities in their place. That's compassionate conservatism at work.

(read more)

Cheney Stumps In Washington State

If he stepped off the Naval Base there, he must have felt damned welcome.

EVERETT, Wash. - Vice President Dick Cheney returned to the scene of repeated frustration for Republican presidential tickets Monday, launching a spirited defense of the beleaguered Bush administration and promoting GOP congressional candidates.

Cheney stumped for U.S. House hopeful Doug Roulstone, a retired Navy commander, and blistered Sen.
John Kerry and other national Democrats as weak-kneed on defense.

Washington hasn't given its 11 electoral votes to the Republicans since Ronald Reagan was on the ballot in 1984. The Bush-Cheney ticket was swamped twice and has dismal poll standings here. [emphasis mine]

Is he getting senile in addition to just plain mean? He's talking about Kerry? Dick its 2006 not 2004.

And I'll just point out again how the chickenhawk who didn't serve in the military is attacking those who did.

(read more)

And So It Starts

This is what you might call Christian Charity. Or you may call it immoral. Take your pick.
The state of Georgia approved a sweeping measure on Monday to crack down on illegal immigrants, while in a sign of the national division on the issue, Arizona's governor [a Democrat] vetoed a bill that would have allowed undocumented workers to be prosecuted as trespassers.


The Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, signed into law by Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue, denies many state services paid for by taxpayers to people who are in the United States illegally.

It also forces contractors doing business with the state to verify the legal status of new workers, and requires police to notify immigration officials if people charged with crimes are illegal immigrants. [emphasis mine]

This is knee jerk legislation. They didn't bother with the homework to find out if it's worth it.

(read more)

Iran Is Legally Enriching Uranium

Some things just make your jaw drop. This is one of those things if you're just hearing about it. I have to admit, as easy as this info is to find, I'm ashamed I didn't already know this.
It’s easy to get confused about developments in Iran because the media does everything in its power to obfuscate the facts and then spin the details in way that advances American policy objectives. But, let’s be clear; the Security Council did NOT order Iran to stop enriching uranium. It may not even be in their power to do so since enrichment is guaranteed under the NPT (Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty). For the Security Council to forbid Iran to continue with enrichment activities would be tantamount to repealing the treaty itself. They didn’t do that.


"The [UN] Security Council reaffirms its commitment to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and recalls the right of States Party, in conformity with articles I and II of that Treaty, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination”.

Should we be surprised that not one newspaper in the western press printed this astonishing vindication of Iran’s conduct under the terms of the NPT?

The media routinely characterizes Iran’s behavior as “defiance”, as if anyone who stands in the way of American foreign policy is inherently evil. In fact, there is an important principle involved in Iran’s response that is never adequately explored. The right to enrich uranium is the central tenet of the NPT. That is why in the language of the treaty, it is referred to as an “inalienable right”. This point is oftentimes overlooked but it is crucial to understanding the true spirit of the treaty. Every nation is entitled to the full benefits of nuclear technology as long as they comply with inspections that ensure their programs are strictly being used for peaceful purposes.


For the United States to say that they want Iran to forgo enrichment is the same as saying they want to unilaterally repeal the treaty.

The article at has much more, including the fact atomic energy inspectors have never found evidence Iran is working on building a nuclear bomb. Of course, because Bush wants to attack Iran and he's getting an assist from Israel, such facts won't slow him down for a second.

Note: the picture is of low-enriched uranium powder which isn't suitable for bomb making. This's the grade Iran has produced.

Yawn. Another Corrupt Republican

Do ya get the feeling an honest person with a sense of honour and propriety can't belong to the Repug party?
Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, praised by death penalty foes for halting executions but accused of using public office to enrich friends and family, was found guilty on Monday of fraud, racketeering, tax evasion and other charges.


The jury convicted Ryan, 72, of all 18 felony counts against him, including racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and making false statements to the


Ryan, a Republican who served one term as governor, said he was disappointed by the convictions but was confident of winning an appeal.

Bob Grant, head of the FBI's Chicago office, said, "I hope this case begins the end of political prostitution ... in the state of Illinois." He said the verdict underscores that "in this country and this democracy there is no one above the law, no matter where your station may be in public service." [emphasis mine]

Of course that "no one above the law" stuff specifically does exclude our idiot-in-chief.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Congress Not Doing Its Job

in a recent Gallup Poll, Congress didn't fair to well.

More From The "Liberal" MSM

This NYT article does nothing to inform the public, but does drive the wedge in further on illegal aliens. In other words it drives the Repug agenda. The topic is how illegal aliens are stealing health care at the expense of real Americans.
Many readers may have been misled into thinking that this is real money. The projected savings [from new Medicare rules] are equal to 0.0015 percent of projected spending over the next five years and 0.0022 percent of projected spending over the next decade. Or, in Brad DeLong’s formulation, of the $49,800 per person that the federal government is projected to spend over the next five years, the new rules are projected to save approximately 73 cents.

Oh yeah, let's get all excited about this one.

The new rules may also deprive eligible Americans from recieving assistance.

What is the difference between providing health care to illegal aliens in the US and providing health care to Africans or other foreign nationals? Of course, I can answer that. An office visit in the US might cost $30? I don't know because I'm covered and too lazy to check what my insurance pays. The same visit in Kenya might cost $1? Scratch that because I have a good example. I had to have an emergency MRI in Asia. I paid $200 cash for it. When I got back to the US I contacted my local clinic to ask the cost. They said an MRI varied, but the cheapest was approximately $2,000.

BTW, I brought home the MRI scan and a US technician checked it out. He said he could tell they were using state-of-the-art equipment.

I should, but won't go into the relative high cost of US health care.

Note: That image is not my scan.

These Are Bush's Wars

Forget that bullshit about "Coalition of the Willing", US troops are dying or being injured in far greater numbers than are allied troops.
Total US military deaths in Iraq (April 16, 2006)
(from all causes):

Total US military deaths and injuries in Afghanistan (April 16, 2006)
(from all causes):

Total US military injured in Iraq (April 16, 2006):
Minimum 17,469

Total UK military injured in Iraq (April 16, 2006):

Let's look at coalition deaths.
Total "coalition" deaths (April 16, 2006):
Great Britain: 104
Bulgaria: 13
Denmark: 2
El Salvador: 2
Estonia: 2
Hungary: 1
Italy: 26
Kazakhstan: 1
Latvia: 1
Netherlands: 2
Poland: 17
Spain: 11
Slovakia: 3
Thailand: 2
Ukraine: 18

I have to comment on Hungary, Kazakhstan and Latvia. All deaths in this illegal war are tragic, but imagine the agony of the families of the fallen troops who were the only ones from their country to die. Jesus that's gotta hurt.


Just Who Are We Arming In Iraq?

This can't be good. It seems we may be making the "death squads" in Iraq even more lethal than they have been. And its questionable whether its legal.
U.S. officials are doling out millions of dollars of arms and ammunition to Iraqi police units without safeguards required to ensure they are complying with American laws that ban taxpayer-financed assistance for foreign security forces engaged in human-rights violations, according to an internal State Department review.

The previously undisclosed review shows that officials failed to take steps to comply with the laws over the past two years, amid mounting reports of torture and murder by Shiite-dominated Iraqi security forces. The review comes at a time when the U.S. military emphasis in Iraq has switched to training and equipping Iraqi forces to replace American troops.


The laws in question are called the Leahy Amendments for their author, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Unless the administration reports to Congress that "effective measures" are being taken to bring abusers to justice, it is supposed to cut off support for any unit in a foreign security force whose members commit serious human-rights violations. Units also are supposed to be vetted before receiving assistance. [emphasis mine]

I emphasised that part of the passage because I had posted before right here that such abuses are not investigated thus no abusers can be brought to justice.

How Do People Really Plan Things?

Its me, spiidey. Went to the airport only to discover the guy who booked my flight got the dates wrong. I was supposed to return on the date I wanted to leave. Yeah, I should have noticed, but worry more about the time of day (get up at 3am?). Arghhh. Waited an hour on standby, but everyone showed up and I couldn't get on the plane. Next available flight is in 3 days...

I told Jill I'll post for now. She will also post if she finds the time.

Didja miss me? Silly question. Of course not.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The sinking of the Titanic — 94 years on first cross-post. Thanks to Spiidey for asking me to guestblog while he's away.

Today is the 94th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, so I thought some musing on the similarities and differences between the America of 1912 and the one of today were in order. This essay is also posted at Brilliant at Breakfast.

Today, when we have cruise ships that dwarf the infamous White Star liner and when such disasters unfold in our own homes in real time, it seems almost quaint that this particular sea disaster still captures the imaginations of so many people. I think it's because the Titanic sinking embodies so many broad themes and archetypes that resonate across time -- the hubris of men who believed that technology could conquer nature, the doomed immigrants seeking only a better life, the wealthy whose millions couldn't protect them against a rush of sea water, the Monday morning quarterbacking used by showboating politicians.

At the beginning of last year, I used to say "If you liked 1905, you'll love 2005." But the parallels between the Gilded Age backdrop against which the Titanic sinking took place and the polarized environment in which we now find ourselves are astonishing.

Economic conditions
1912 was a presidential election year, in which the pressing issues were very similar to those important to Americans today. While inflation today in general isn't the hot topic it was in the 1970's, increasing fuel prices are rippling across the country increasing the cost of everything. ThinkProgress is reporting that in 2005, Exxon's CEO raked in a cool $190,000/day. In the 1910 midterm elections, Democrats had gained a majority in Congressby focusing on voters' frustration with the cost of living and their perception that greedy speculators were robbing the country blind while average workers could barely keep up:

Today's Republicans have been successful in convincing American voters that shoveling more and more cash into the pockets of the wealthy "creates jobs" while at the same time pointing their attention at illegal immigrants, convincing Americans that the Brown Hordes are their problem, not the guy with the $6000 shower curtain picking their pockets from behind. In 1912, organized labor was coming into full flower, and the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile workers' strike that year in response to mill owners' reducing wages in the aftermath of a law requiring a shorter work week resulted in a victory for workers. The Lawrence textile mills, with their output-based pay and alienation between workers and management were the Wal-Marts of their day.Today, workers faced with globalization submit meekly when corporate executives like those at Delphi receive huge bonuses while worker pensions and medical benefits are short-changed and workers are asked to take pay cuts. What little manufacturing is left in this country is rapidly devolving into the kind of conditions workers endured prior to the early 20th century labor movement.

Conservation and the environment
It's interesting that George W. Bush, who has presided over the gutting of most environmental regulations on business, likes to identify with Theodore Roosevelt. 1912 was the year Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Party ticket on a conservation platform, during a time when the realization that the land was a valuable resource that must be tended was gaining traction. Today, fish is full of mercury, much of the coast is likely to be under water in less than 100 years, and the Bush Administration gives nothing but lip service to addressing the environmental problems we face. In the area of the environment and conservation, the American people are more in synch with their 1912 brethren than with the contemporary robber barons that this president has admitted is his primary constituency.

Direct democracy
After the presidential election debacles of 2000 and 2004, the move to eliminate the Electoral College and have direct elections for president has once again gained traction. has a number of editorials from after the 2000 election calling for Electoral College reform. At the same time, right-wingers have clamored for judicial recall, citing decisions by "activist judges" (read: judges who are not wingnuts) as a reason. Interestingly, it was Teddy Roosevelt calling for judicial recall in his speech at the Ohio nominating convention of 1912, showing that the adult version of the "do-over" knows no ideology. Those who know me are aware that I am involved in the campaign of Camille Abate for the Democratic nomination for the 5th Congressional District of New Jersey. Camille is running against a Clintonista who was brought into the district by the party apparatchiks, seemingly to be a sacrificial lamb to run against the incumbent Republican. In terms of everything from fundraising to ballot position, the candidate not endorsed by the party machine has an uphill battle, relying mostly on guts, energy, and moxie, to fight the machine politics that dominate the nominating process. The irony of the impact of machine politics in the primary process is underscored by looking at history, because it was again Roosevelt who advocated direct elections of party nominees via a primary process, to reduce the influence of professional politicians.

After September 11, 2001, there was much talk about whether the attacks of that day were the Titanic sinking of our time. It could be argued that the collapse of two giant skyscrapers, theoretically caused by ten guys with boxcutters on airplanes, had the same dramatic and fatal impact of a piece of ice floating in the North Atlantic, punching a series of dots in the hull of a supposedly unsinkable ocean liner. Just as the watertight bulkheads proved ineffective against this particular iceberg collision, so did the insulation and other construction safeguards prove ineffective against the impact of two airplanes. Both show the pitfalls of human hubris in thinking that size somehow means invincibility -- a misconception made by the builders of the Titanic, the builders of the World Trade Center, and the architects of the Iraq War.

The Titanic sinking, occurring as it did in the context of an ascendant labor movement, marked an unofficial end to the age of the Robber Barons. Alas, the 9/11 attacks, which frightened Americans into blind acquiescence to the worst instincts of the President, his administration, Congressional Republicans, and their corporate funders, seem to be heralding a new, meaner Gilded Age, one once again characterized by a preposterously wealthy plutocracy amassing more and more wealth, with the rest of us scrambling in modern-day sweatshops for the scraps.

(HUGE hat tip to the Graduate School of Ohio State University, whose 1912: Competing Visions for America provided much of the information for this blog entry.)