Saturday, May 06, 2006

US Answers To UN On Torture

The US government has sent a delegation of 30 people to Geneva to respond to questions from the UN about alleged torture of detainees.
The US has defended its treatment of suspects detained in its "war on terror", telling a UN committee that it considers the use of torture as wrong.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Barry Lowenkron told the Committee Against Torture in Geneva that US law prohibited such practices.

Senior US officials are testifying before the committee for the first time since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Rights groups accuse the US of flouting the UN Convention against Torture.

They say the US allows the torture and inhumane treatment of foreign terror suspects at their detention centres around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

This's all well and good. It'll be great if the US honestly responds to the requests for information about secret prisons and who're being held and where. These are things many people have wanted to know ever since info about the secret prisons was first uncovered.

However, I'd like to know why the UN needs to do this. Why is Bushco answering these questions in Geneva and not Washington DC? Once the reports started appearing about secret prisons, rendition and kidnapping, Congress should have initiated inquiries. We should have cleaned up our own house and not forced the UN to get involved.

China, Russia Don't Back US On Iran At UN

You could see this one coming from a mile (1.6 km) away. China and Russia, who both have veto power on the UN Security Council, won't sign on to a US proposed resolution on Iran.
Russia and China have opposed key provisions in a UN draft resolution that orders Iran to curb its nuclear programme.

Both nations object to the use of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, used in dozens of Security Council resolutions for peacekeeping missions and other legally-binding actions.

Although Chapter 7 allows for sanctions and even war, a separate resolution is required to specify either step.

Moscow and Beijing, which have veto power, fear that too much pressure on Iran would be self-defeating or precipitate an oil crisis. Both worry that the US would use a Chapter 7 resolution to justify military action.

Wang Guangya, the Chinese ambassador to the UN, said: "I think we have serious difficulty with Chapter 7 and the threat to international peace and security. These are the basic ones."

He was referring to a paragraph in the resolution's preamble that indicates that Iran's nuclear programme was a "threat to international peace and aecurity".


Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the UN, said the main purpose of the resolution should be to back the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], the UN nuclear watchdog.

"It's clear this resolution is not about sanctions because they are not in the resolution," he said. "It is clear that this resolution is not providing legal ground for the use of force. Everybody agrees on that."

Churkin said the use of Chapter 7 "might in fact detract from the strength of this resolution because [it] might be detracting from our goal of supporting the IAEA in its activities in working with Iran."

The resolution, introduced on Wednesday, would compel Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment. It does not call for any other action if Iran does not comply, but the US has made it clear that sanctions would be the next step.

Russia and China are taking a reasonable approach. The resolution at this point should be limited to an order to stop enrichment. Perhaps Bushco can learn something about diplomacy by watching these two ambassadors. Nah. Ain't gonna happen.

Technically everyone should butt out of Iran's business. Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)which allows Iran peaceful use of nuclear energy, prohibits weapons and provides for unannounced inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but some sort of resolution is going to happen.

Of course everyone is looking at Iran's oil too. The oil is always a factor.

(read more)

Goodby Scotty. Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass

Scotty McCellan gave his last on-camera press briefing on Friday. You just know he had to be in a great mood.
A large bank of photographers fixed their lenses on the White House podium from the back of the briefing room. Other photographers stood in the aisles to get side shots. Reporters filled nearly every seat.

This level of media attention is common for President Bush's events. But it wasn't Bush who was to speak; it was press secretary Scott McClellan, about to begin his final on-camera briefing before leaving his post at the White House.

``Big turnout today,'' McClellan said Friday with a wide smile as he walked to the lectern for the last of nearly 300 such briefings in two years and 10 months in the job. ``Something going on?''

Cat Blogging

Or maybe its cat food blogging.

Kennedy. Kennedy? How Many Are There?

Why do I think of rabbits when I see the name Kennedy?

I'm linking to this non-story. Non-story because not enough's known now except there was an accident involving a Kennedy. Ok, so a Kennedy does make it a story. My mistake.

I do have to point out one sentence. There are really two, but only one's pertinent.
He planned to return to Rhode Island on Friday in hopes of defusing the controversy surrounding the Thursday morning crash, including allegations he got special treatment from police who did not administer field sobriety tests. Kennedy has denied asking for any favorable police treatment. [emphasis mine]

Come on morons. He's a news magnet. Follow normal procedure and administer the fucking test. I don't care if he's a Dem and a Kennedy [redundant- ed]. He plays by the rules set out for all of US.

This is probably a picture of the guy. I've never met him and probably won't after this post.

I'm not sure, but I'd guess there's more than one Patrick Kennedy in the US. Probably more than one Patrick J Kennedy. I think its really him because he has the requisite flag behind him. And the dark suit. And the rosy cheeks and red nose of someone who's been drinking. Now who the hell wrote that last sentence? Jill? Are you here?

Enough of that fun shit. I'll wait for the investigation. Patrick claims he was on prescription meds which cause drowsiness and it was in the early morning. I've been there and meds can fuck you up big time and you never know when they'll kick in. I hope this turns out well for Mr Kennedy and hope it turns out to be justice.

Who Is This Woman? Its Driving Me Crazy!

Actuall she's a robot, but I'm positive I've seen that face before and can't remember who she is.

Friday, May 05, 2006


You're the 4,000th visitor to my site. Sorry no prizes, but happy to see you.

Well, you are if you're the first one to read this post. So leave a comment so others will know they are second, third or whatever.

Non-Political Amusing Post

Here Comes That Old Thorn Muqtada Again

A while back I posted about Muqtada al-Sadr here, here, here and here. I've pointed out he had better not be ignored. And Bushco doesn't like him and won't deal with him. The truth is, Muqtada is much more likely to get his way than is Bushco.
If Muqtada gets his way, he will be in control of seven out of 32 posts in the Maliki government. His record at Health has been a bad one, and doctors complain of a lack of proper hospitals, shortage of equipment, low pay and a huge shortage in human resources. At Transportation, Muqtada's men have plastered pictures of Shi'ite clerics at train stations, bus stations and Baghdad airport, while they have prohibited the sale of alcohol at the duty-free shop there.


If [Prime Minister-designate] Maliki says no to Muqtada, the rebel-cleric can and will work to eject him from office. He has the cards inside the UIA [United Iraqi Alliance], and also controls the minds and hearts of millions of Iraqi youth. He is also very influential in the slums of Baghdad, among the urban poor, and within the working middle-class Shi'ite community. All combined, their opposition can bring down Maliki.

And if Maliki says "yes" to Muqtada, this will bring him back to the same position that crippled his predecessor, Jaafari. A Maliki manipulated by Muqtada is a Maliki nobody in Iraq wants to deal with - neither the Americans, the Sunnis, the seculars or the Kurds.

A cabinet with seven of Muqtada's men in it is also a cabinet that nobody would want to join - certainly not the Sunnis, and certainly not Allawi, who had tried to eradicate Muqtada's movement when he was prime minister in 2004.

If Maliki lets Muqtada have his way, all of these players will refuse to cooperate in creating a government and Maliki will have to step down. With and without Muqtada, his job is impossible.

BTW, in that first earlier post I spoke of natural born leaders. Bush isn't one of those. He's a follower and that's why its necessary to impeach Cheney too because Cheney is the power behind the naked monarch. If only Bush were to be impeached, Cheney would still weild the power. If only Cheney were deposed, Bush would just follow some other neocon or Cheney anyway.

This Should Prove Interesting

Whatever will they say? Yeah, we signed that Convention Against Torture and I guess we could have done a little better at making sure we complied. But we're trying really hard to do better.

The United States is to appear before the UN Committee Against Torture for the first time since it launched its war on terror.

The committee, the global body's watchdog for a 22-year-old treaty forbidding prisoner abuse, will question US officials on a series of issues ranging from Washington's interpretation of the absolute ban on torture to its interrogation methods in prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

There are also expected to be questions focussing on allegations of secret CIA prisons and flights transferring suspects for possible torture in other countries.

The United States, like the 140 other nations that have signed the Convention Against Torture, must submit reports to the committee to show it is applying the rules.


In its 87-page report filed in January - some four years behind schedule - Washington insisted it is "unequivocally opposed" to torture and that its commitment to the ban "remains unchanged" since the US Senate ratified the convention in October 1994.

The report said President Bush "has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture under any circumstances."

And then.
When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

I think its safe to assume they won't present the UN with a copy of that particular document.

Taken To Task By German Magazine

Just another example of how far the US has fallen in the eyes of the world.
The most important thing about the Moussaoui trial, however, was that it happened. The proceedings - including the jury deliberations - were long and difficult, but they were also fair and in accordance with the rules of American justice.

That is not the story for hundreds of other people, many far less complicit than Moussaoui, who are languishing in the prison at Guantánamo Bay because the United States rounded them up haphazardly during the Afghan war and plunked them down in Cuba without any clear plan on what to do with them over the long run.

So far only 10 of the 490 people still stashed away in Guantánamo have ever been charged with anything. The rest were hauled up before military proceedings that were a joke, if the available transcripts are any indication, to determine whether they should continue to be held without any rights or process under the phony label of "unlawful enemy combatant" that the Bush administration concocted after Sept. 11 for just this purpose. This is not even a half-hearted stab at a day in court, and it leaves hundreds of people under indefinite, illegal detention. [emphasis mine]

Now doesn't that story just make ya damn proud of your president.

(read more)

Why Not Drop Out Now?

Anyone who's worked in a corporate environment knows there are career limiting things you can do or say. But that must be something Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne hasn't learned yet.
President Bush’s nominee for Interior secretary contradicted administration policy Thursday when he told a Senate committee he opposed selling public land to raise money for cutting budget deficits.

Bush’s 2007 budget plan includes two proposals to sell up to 320,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management and national forest land to raise up to $1 billion over the next four years to help reduce the deficit.

“If it is strictly for deficit reduction, I do not support it,” Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Kempthorne said he could support some sales of public lands if they were surrounded by private land or costly to manage.

“I do not want to preclude the tool,” he said.

I wonder if he will be refusing the nomination so he can spend more time with the family?

Bush Manipulated Information?

According to an ex-CIA specialist Bush was manipulating information prior to the invasion of Iraq.
A former Middle East specialist of the US
Central Intelligence Agency has condemned what he called an organised campaign of manipulation by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq war.

Paul Pillar, a former CIA analyst specialising in counter-terrorism in the Middle East and Asia, said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais that the United States had particularly wanted to prove a link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

"That was not the case," he was quoted as saying. "I suppose by some definitions that could be called a lie."

"There was an organised campaign of manipulation," El Pais also quoted Pillar as saying. "That would be the proper way to define it."

I call bullshit right here. Don't try to sneak that shit past us because you, Mr Pillar, are dead wrong. By any definition it was a lie. Bush knew damn well Hussein and bin Laden were not chums. Let's shut down this nonsense before the wingers start blaring it all over and quoting this moron.
It is unlikely that the decidedly secular Baathist regime--which has savagely suppressed Islamists within Iraq--would be able to maintain close links with Osama bin Laden and his followers. In fact, Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal, his country's former intelligence chief, noted that bin Laden views Saddam Hussein "as an apostate, an infidel, or someone who is not worthy of being a fellow Muslim" and that bin Laden had offered in 1990 to raise an army of thousands of mujaheddin fighters to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.*

*Excerpted from "Seven Fallacies of U.S. Plans to Invade Iraq," August 2002 Foreign Policy in Focus policy report. Available at the Common Dreams website.

Note: the only pictures I could find of Hussein and bin Laden together were Photoshopped© like the one above.

Ann Coulter Has Fans In Russia

This is from the on-line issue of eXile, a Moscow-based Alternative Newspaper. Her fame knows no bounds.

The eXile is a Moscow, Russia-based English-language bi-weekly newspaper that was launched in 1997 by American journalist Mark Ames. He was joined soon after by Matt Taibbi. The newspaper quickly gained fame and notoriety, including a 4-page spread in Rolling Stone, a 1-hour CNN documentary, and various other media, which the eXile foolishly failed to properly exploit.

Election Year Kabuki Dance

My oh my, just what to do to get elected? I've got it, pass a bill that really sounds comforting to the voters - checking all cargo at ports for radio active material. That should make the voters feel much safer. Uh, except it can't be done. Perhaps the voters will overlook that tiny aspect.
The House overwhelmingly approved legislation Thursday to try and [sic] stop nuclear weapons from being smuggled into the country by screening nearly all cargo for radiological materials at seaports. Yet the technology will not be available, the Bush administration said. [emphasis mine]

So, after saying technology won't be available let's pretend we didn't say that and say this.
The bill "will improve the safety of the American people and the security of our global supply chain," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif. He said it "ensures our shores are our last line of defense, not our first."

And this.
In a statement, President Bush described himself as pleased with the bill, which he said will "enhance the security of our nation's ports."

No reality in their lives at all. Its all politics all the time.

Ya Want Reform? Vote Dems Into Office

So we have problems with lobbies and need reform. Ok, here's your reform.
House conservatives just passed their lobbying reform bill by a narrow 217-214 217-213 vote. The Washington Post called the legislation a “sham,” “diluted snake oil” and “an insult to voters.” Instead of the comprehensive reform promised by lawmakers in early 2006, this bill fails to reform parts of the system most in need.

A look at what this bill is missing:

– No Restrictions on Lavish Gifts: Current gift limits will remain unchanged.

– No Ban on Free Exotic Trips: Lawmakers will still be able to accept lavish privately-funded trips from lobbyists.

– No Increase in Lobbyist Transparency: Lobbyists can continue to pay $25,000 or $50,000 for a campaign fundraiser, with no oversight.

– No Ethics Training for Members: Ethics training will be mandatory for all congressional staff, but not for members.

– No Revolving Door Slow-Down: A companion piece of legislation to the lobbying bill would require administration officials to wait at least two years after they leave office before becoming lobbyists. But there is no legislation to create a similar two-year waiting period for lawmakers.

– No Grassroots Lobbying Regulation: There are no disclosure rules “for professional lobbying firms that are retained to spend money on campaigns aimed at stimulating the public to lobby Congress, including multimillion dollar advertising campaigns.”

– No Enforcement of Existing Rules: The bill “includes no mechanism for enforcing and monitoring old and new rules.”

– Weak Earmark Reform: The bill restricts appropriations earmarks, but does not reform earmarks in tax and authorization bills.

(courtesy link)

If You Blog

you might want to sign up for this. Or not. Its your choice of course. But we are taking names of those who don't and it goes on your permanent record. Hehehe. Just kidding. There aren't really any permanent records. Well, maybe at the FBI there are.

Hey, if its good enough for Atrios...

Zacarias Moussaoui's Sentence

I've been waiting for someone to bring up OJ's name.
A Fox News military analyst Thursday (May 4, 2006) reacted to the life sentence for by calling for an end to the American constitutional right to a trial by a jury of one's peers and substitution of "professional juries" to handle criminal cases.

David Hunt, a retired U.S. Army colonel who appears regularly on Fox News, said on "Dayside" said that the jurors in the case "missed it" because they failed to give Moussaoui the death penalty because of his role in the 9/11 tragedy.

"I think it's time to get professional jurors. We've had O.J. SImpson, this guy, and others," Hunt said, adding that he understands the legal issues involved.

Hunt may "understand" on some level the constitutional issue of the right to a trial by a jury of one's peers, but he certainly does not appreciate the importance of having a jury that is separate from the government that is doing the prosecuting. His comment makes one wonder exactly what American freedoms he thought he was protecting during his years in the U.S. Army.

It had to happen because OJ really did it.

Did he? I really have no tangible reason to believe so, but suspect its quite possible. Its a gut feeling more than anything.

However. And this is a huge however. I was recuperating from major surgery at the time the OJ trial was held and watched every single second of it (except for the 2-3 minute bathroom breaks). If I had been a juror, I would not have found OJ guilty based on all the testimony offered. The state did not prove him guilty. Period.

If you're gonna believe in the rule of law and the Constitution, you have to believe in juries.

Rumsfeld On The Grill

I don't do video and don't often link to it because I know most of us don't have fast computers and fast connections, but you gotta see this one. Rumsfeld is literally speechless when his own words are read to him.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Zacarias Moussaoui To Serve Life Sentence In France?

I'm all for this because I think the guy has no chance of staying alive in a US prison.
France was seeking "a possible transfer" of the convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui from the United States, the French Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

The two countries "are linked by two conventions on the transfer of convicted persons," said a spokesman for the ministry,Jean-Baptiste Mattei.

"A possible transfer of Mr. Zacarias Moussaoui could be examined within this framework," he said.

The French Foreign Ministry came to intervene one day after a U.S. jury sentenced Moussaoui to a life-long jail term for his role in the deadliest Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assault in U.S. history.

Patrick Baudouin, the lawyer of Moussaoui's mother, said he had asked French officials "to intervene with American authorities to demand that Moussaoui serve his sentence in a French prison."

Moussaoui, 37, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, is the first person to be convicted in the United States for his involvement in the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, which killed nearly 3,000 people. Enditem

(courtesy link)

Must Read IMHO

This for a bit of humility. It can't hurt. The subject is "exporting democracy", something I've never believed possible.

Warning: its long, but well worth the time to read it.

The Rise Of The Taliban

The Taliban, you know, that group US forces "eliminated" seems to be gaining strength.
Across the jihadi world, there is a strong conviction that by the end of this year Taliban leader Mullah Omar will be back in power in Afghanistan, from where he was driven by US-led forces in 2001.

Realistically, eight months is likely to be too ambitious a time frame for a Taliban victory, if victory is achievable at all.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the Taliban movement is poised to enhance its nuisance level significantly in the United States' strategic back yards in the region - notably Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Acutely aware of this, the US is leaning heavily on Pakistan, its key ally in the "war on terror" in the region, to go on the offensive against the strong Taliban foothold in the North and South Waziristan tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

What the US is asking for, in effect, is a Tora Bora-style aerial bombing of the area, similar to that undertaken in the mountains of that name in Afghanistan during the rout of the Taliban five years ago. (Incidentally, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora long before the bombs began to fall.)

The Taliban are integrated into the local population and there would be high civilian casualties. This is considered acceptable as civilians would be deemed Taliban sympathizers. [emphasis mine]

Now its the italicised words I want to comment on. I'm assuming there are hundreds if not thousands of children in that area who aren't capabable of sympathizing with anyone except perhaps their parents. But no problem. Bomb their asses all to hell. That'll show 'em.

Is that how a compassionate conservative and God fearing person (yeah, Bush, I'm looking at you) would act? I don't think so.

Beyond that, let's consider the adults. They have a powerful, dangerous group in their midsts. They might feel powerless to drive them out. They might feel any attempt to have someone else remove them might endanger them and their families. They might feel the Taliban is right. Do any of these positions by the locals justify their extinction? Not to my way of thinking.

Why does Bushco's singular approach to foreign affairs always seem to be the death penalty?

To my friends in Canada and Mexico, be careful now. If you piss this idiot off, he can nuke you in seconds.

Bush Isn't Pleasing The People

It seems like the public really doesn't like his handling of the immigration and energy issues. From a recent Gallup Poll.

Must Read IMHO

Tweety finally does his job. Check out the Hardball transcript.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A "Really" Staged Photo Op?

I'm miserable at Gimp and worse with Photoshop, so could someone tell me if this is a doctored photo? Isn't that flag sort of floating above the path Bush is on?

BTW its a 2 year old photo. Don't want you to think they only recently started lying.

Got Stress?

A recent study finds Brits are healthier than their US counterparts and some believe relative stress levels are to blame.
Middle-aged, white Americans are much sicker than their counterparts in England, startling new research shows, despite U.S. health care spending per person that's more than double what England spends.

A higher rate of Americans tested positive for diabetes and heart disease than the English. Americans also self-reported more diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, lung disease and cancer.


"At every point in the social hierarchy there is more illness in the United States than in England and the differences are really dramatic," said study co-author Dr. Michael Marmot, an epidemiologist at University College London in England.


Marmot offered yet another explanation for the gap: Americans' financial insecurity. Improvements in household income have eluded all but the top fifth of Americans since the mid-1970s. Meanwhile, English citizens saw their incomes improve, he said.

Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health who was not involved in the study, said the stress of striving for the American dream may account for Americans' lousy health.

"The opportunity to go both up and down the socioeconomic scale in America may create stress," Blendon said. Americans don't have a reliable government safety net like the English enjoy, Blendon said.

(read more)

Generic Election Poll

The latest from Gallup Poll. People are still showing a strong inclination to vote Democratic.

The poll also shows Republicans are becoming less enthused about voting in this round than are Democrats. That's excellent news and should make getting out the vote easier.

Canada, Don't Emulate US Drug Laws

Sometimes those in power will be completely honest. Although this guy probably won't be able to make a difference, he can get the dialogue started that may lead to change.
Governments in Canada should steer completely clear from adopting or emulating any current drug policies in the United States, an outspoken New York state prosecutor said Tuesday.

"My advice to Canada is stay as completely far away from U.S. drug law policy as possible," said David Soares, the district attorney for Albany County in the state of New York. "You (Canada) are headed in the right direction." In a blunt and scathing condemnation of his state and country's ineffective drug war, Soares said lawmakers, judges and prosecutors in the U.S. know their system is ineffective.

But they support it anyway because it provides law enforcement officials with lucrative jobs.

The vast majority of people incarcerated as a result of drug laws in the U.S. are young African-American and Hispanic males, he said after a speech at the 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug-Related Harm.


He suggested that the heavy-handed drug fight in the U.S. is perpetuated by authorities' need to "give people a wonderful living" by hiring more police, more judges and more prosecutors.

He said, not sarcastically, that the U.S.'s well-known penchant for building more and more prisons was an accepted "economic development strategy."

(read more)

Feeling Secure? Well Don't #5

I'm missing something in this story. Nah, I'm just kidding. Its pretty straight forward. The FBI has been asked to do something it is probably not competent to do. Perfectly understandable with Bushco around.
The FBI still has not assembled an accurate terrorist watch list, and it will be “some time” before it does, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Tuesday.


Mueller reported “significant progress” in developing a domestic intelligence division at the FBI, but acknowledged that “some harbor doubts about the FBI’s ability to transform itself into a leading intelligence agency.”

It gets better worse.
Later, former senior CIA analyst John Gannon recommended that Congress beef up the Homeland Security Department’s intelligence wing and put it in charge of domestic intelligence.

Oh yeah, that's just the crack organisation to take over. Truth is its more likely a way for Bushco to further consolidate his control over domestic spying.

Bush May Be Learning

When it comes to a possible bird flu pandemic, Bush has taken the bold postition that he ain't gonna handle it.
States, cities and businesses should not expect to be rescued by the federal government if a flu pandemic strikes, warns a draft of the latest national response plan, one already under fire from critics who say federal preparations are moving too slowly.


"Local communities will have to address the medical and nonmedical impacts of the pandemic with available resources," the draft warns, because federal officials won't be able to offer the kind of aid expected after hurricanes or other one-time, one-location natural disasters. [emphasis mine]

OMG. I can't write this stuff. So we can't expect the crack response we saw after Katrina? Did Stephen Colbert slip that bit in there? It sure fits his style.

National Anthem: English Only?

Sometimes you just have to love the young people. Maybe there is hope. Check the poll for other break-downs.

Patriotism is patriotism regardless of how its expressed.

Scream At Congress Now!

Its pretty bad when Congress is about to do something that really pisses off Molly Ivins. And, if you read Molly regularly you know she is boiling inside.
Either the so-called "lobby reform bill" is the contemptible, cheesy, shoddy piece of hypocrisy it appears to be ... or the Republicans have a sense of humor.

The "lobby reform" bill does show, one could argue, a sort of cheerful, defiant, flipping-the-bird-at-the-public attitude that could pass for humor. You have to admit that calling this an "ethics bill' requires brass bravura.

There's contact info over in the right margin. Tell your congress critter you're tired of the insults to your intelligence and you want real reform immediately.

As you can see in the article, Congress doesn't think you give a damn. Show them they just don't get it. Tell them you're tired of their taking "junkets" to Scottland for golf when you're struggling to buy gas so you can go to work. Tell them you don't appreciate their dining (free!) at an upscale restaurant while a couple Happy Meals™ are starting to look like an investment. Tell them you didn't elect them as monarchs.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

We Don't Worry About Polls: Bushco

Oh yeah? Gallup Polls seems to disagree. My reading is they think you're scared shitless and will do anything to make the public poll better.
by Frank Newport, Editor in Chief
The Gallup Poll

President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have all in recent weeks made assertions about negative consequences of paying attention to public opinion polls.

In recent comments in Charlotte, N.C., Bush responded to queries about the debate in Washington over a timetable for removing troops from Iraq: "Here's my answer to you: I'm not going to make decisions based upon polls and focus groups." Cheney and Rumsfeld have chimed in with similar sentiments.

This is not new. A Bush campaign pamphlet from the Republican primary in Delaware in the spring of 2000 quotes Bush as saying: "I don't need polls to tell me how to think. If elected president, I will not use my office to reflect public opinion."

Despite these protestations, of course, the administration has, by all accounts, been paying a lot of attention to polls.
[thank God for Gallup] Alarmed by dropping job approval ratings last fall, the president embarked on an extraordinary series of speeches about Iraq. He has been similarly engaged this year, expanding his speeches to include questions from the audience, increasing the frequency of his press conferences, and allowing more access from reporters. His well-publicized shake-up in the White House staff has almost certainly been caused by concern over polls. The president's appearance at a photo opportunity at a gas station in Biloxi, Miss., and his public comments this past week also reflects his advisers' concerns that the rise in gas prices will cause even further erosion in his standing in the polls.

In other words, while protesting publicly that they don't pay attention to polls, the White House appears to be quite busy reacting to negative poll numbers. [emphasis mine]

No news here. They lie about everything.

Don't Forget About Global Warming

The greenhouse gases that cause global warming are still rising (no pun intended).
The greenhouse gases widely blamed for raising the planet's temperature are still building up in the atmosphere.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] said Monday there was a continuing increase in carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide in the air last year, though methane leveled off.

The agency said and there was a decline in two chlorofluorocarbons, gases blamed for the ozone hole over the Antarctic.

Overall, NOAA said, its annual greenhouse gas index "shows a continuing, steady rise in the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere."

Katherine Harris Can't Catch A Break

It seems Katherine Harris may share a friend, and not a good one, with Duke Cunningham.
Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, filed a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice against Rep. Katherine Harris Monday, RAW STORY has learned.

The group's complaint alleges that Harris was bribed by a defense contractor who has already pled guilty to bribing former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA). It alleges that Harris broke the law when the contractor paid $2,800 for a fundraising dinner the congresswoman held.

You can read the text of the complaint at the Common Cause website or at Raw Story.

Bush Has Solved Deficit Problem

OK! I knew he had it in him, but am amazed at the novelty of approach. We'll just print unaccountable money if we need it. This from The Times Of India.
On March 23, unnoticed by many, the US Federal Reserve quietly stopped publishing the quantum of broad money (referred to as M3) in the US economy.

Simply put, this meant the central bank will not reveal the amount of currency it pumps into the system each year. So, it will now be impossible to distinguish dollar inflows to US economy and new currency that the Fed would print.

So, the Fed, fear analysts, could covertly fund its near $800 billion budget deficit and $700 billion balance of payment deficit, which are more than India's GDP.


The US now wants the world to trust their word, even in the field of their currency's value. In a world where the confidence in US has never been so low since 1945, the dollar is thus turned into the central player of the beginning global systemic crisis,"according to E2020 - European Political Anticipation.

Oh yeah, world just trust US. OMG my side is aching from laughing.

I'm recovered. Now someone stop this idiot before he destroys the world with war or brings down the world's economies.

This Has To Hurt

Its long overdue, but welcome none the less. Now I never agreed with the decision to invade Iraq. I want that clear, but Powell probably saw it as inevitable and tried to do what he could as a military man to increase the odds it would suceed.
Just back from Baghdad and eager to discuss promising developments, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found herself knocked off message Sunday, forced to defend prewar planning and troop levels against an unlikely critic — Colin Powell, her predecessor at the State Department.

For the Bush administration, it was a rare instance of in-house dissenter going public.


In January, Pentagon officials acknowledged that Paul Bremer, the senior U.S. official in Iraq during the first year of the war, told Rumsfeld in May 2004 that a far larger number of U.S. troops were needed to effectively fight the insurgency, but his advice was rejected.

Bremer said his memo to Rumsfeld suggested half a million troops were needed — more than three times the number there at the time

And, in defending the planning, Rice came out with this preposterous lie.
"When the war plan was put together, it was put together, also, with consideration of what would happen after Saddam Hussein was actually overthrown," Rice said.

Or, if they really did feel they had an adequate plan for what would happen, they are admitting they are complete incompetents. Your choice. They are incompetent or liars. My vote is for both.

The $100 Oil Rebate

Everyone knows that proposal has only one purpose: to buy your vote in November.

Since the majority of US don't want the rebate, we should assume we don't get one. Then, when your check arrives, write something on the face of it and mail it back. Make your comment pithy and genuine. Might I suggest:

I'm sorry, but my vote is not for sale.


Take this money and use it to solve the energy problem.


We can't afford another hand-out.

Or my first choice:

Take this check and stuff it where it'll never see daylight!

Mission Accomplished Nearly Accomplished

Easy post. They write this stuff for us.
Three years after US President George W. Bush prematurely stood beneath a banner hailing "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq, his administration said that the war-torn country finally now is "on the way" toward ushering in stability and democracy.

"We are on the way to accomplishing the mission and achieving victory," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan, on the three-year anniversary of a speech in which the president, standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln, pronounced major US combat operations over in Iraq. [emphasis mine]

Must Read

An excerpt from a fine post over at Once Upon a Time...
As things stand now, this nation may finally have one of the worst epitaphs in history: They lost their liberty -- and they didn't even know it.

And don't forget Bushco has already hired Halliburton to build detention camps.

Happy Anniversary!

Three years and thousands of deaths later we look back at the "end" of the Iraqi war.

Monday, May 01, 2006

An Economic Icon Is Dead

I'm late posting about the death of John Kenneth Galbraith. I think Brad DeLong did an excellent job of eulogising him. Page down. It's about the 3rd post.

When I attended university, JKG was a GOD! My professors thought he hung the moon and never doubted his opinions.

One thing I'm sure of is very few of us will ever influence the world as much as this man did.

We will miss you John.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

This Is Really Cool (pun there)

Couldn't pass up the chance to bring this to your attention. Damn, I wish I could put one of these in my home.
They are out to bring disruptive technology to frozen desserts.

They stole the Demo technology show in February and have become a darling of the Linux crowd.

They say they could instantly turn Starbucks into a giant force in ice cream.

They are the employees — all nine of them — of MooBella. And until now, no one has told their story.

If you read those lines with the voice of that guy who seems to do every single movie trailer, it sounds very dramatic.

Anyway, one of the year's most interesting tech debuts is indeed Taunton, Mass.-based MooBella. The company invented a computer-controlled vending machine that makes ice cream on demand from room temperature ingredients, flash freezing it in 10 seconds.

I would bet the farm this company takes off like Google stock.

(read more)

Those Crazy Republicans

I guess once a frat boy, always a frat boy.
Republican Rep. John Sweeney's attendance at a beer-drinking, college fraternity party has drawn criticism from Democrats who accused the New York lawmaker of using poor judgment.

"What is a 50-year-old congressman doing at a frat party at 1 in the morning cavorting with students 30 years his junior? Teaching them how a bill becomes a law?" Blake Zeff, a spokesman for New York Democrats, said Friday.

Ok, let's see if we can find a picture of this guy.

Nope. That is John Sweeney, but no American flag, so it probably isn't the right one. We'll try again.

Hahaha. I swear to God that's what came up for "John Sweeney". Maybe they meant this one.

I think we may be getting closer. Once more...

There we go. Dark suit (x), white shirt (x), striped tie (x) and requisite American Flag (x), yep all the right elements. I think we've found frat boy Sweeney.

Are Americans Waking Up?

New Yorkers are busy. Certainly too busy to protest the war in Iraq on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, right? Or are they? Maybe Americans are waking up to the fact they have a fucking asshole for a president and they want to show just how much they hate what he's doing in their names.

Estimates vary, but most put the number of protestors in the 300,000 range. The sea of people covered 10 city blocks.

Its A Secret If We Even Do Keep Secrets

Ya gotta love the inventiveness of these assholes. Now Cheney is keeping secrets about keeping secrets. Well, if Bush can do what he wants why can't Cheney? After all, we know he's really the one in charge.
As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as "top secret" or "confidential," one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt.

Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office's secrecy when such offices as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is "not under any duty" to provide it.

And in case you missed my earlier post, check out Glenn Greenwald's post that ties right into this whole ugly topic.

Iran Invasion Watch 2

Iran just doesn't get it. There are no overtures they can make to Bushco to prevent the inevitable invasion. Iran is a target and Bushco won't blink.
The White House has rejected Iran's latest offer in the ongoing dispute over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Iran's deputy nuclear chief said his country would allow U.N. inspectors to resume snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, but only if the dispute again went before the U.N. nuclear monitor.

But a White House spokesman said the offer does not change the U.S. position that the Iranian government must give up its nuclear ambitions. Nor, as Blaine Rethmeier puts it, "does it affect our decision to move forward to the United Nations Security Council."

Iran's offer was issued a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the Iranians successfully produced enriched uranium and had defied the U.N. Security Council's Friday deadline to freeze the process.

This link is a courtesy. All text is here. I even "borrowed" the picture.

Must Read

How much more do Americans need before they cry BULLSHIT!? And I mean at the top of their lungs.

Thanx to Glenn Greenwald.

Niel Young's Album

In case you haven't heard the album yet.

Buy it at

We All Don't Know Something

I ran into the following in comments at...? I hate Haloscan because I don't know whose blog the comments are under. Anyway, this is the comment.
From Yahoo news:
The video by al-Zawahri was first obtained by IntelCenter, a U.S. contractor that provides counterterrorism intelligence services to the U.S. government

I did not know we had privatized intelligence. Shouldn't be surprised I guess. But that seems like a bad idea.
Neponset | 04.29.06 - 11:55 am | #

Of course this person should be reading this blog so they are better informed. I'm joking folks!

This administration really makes it difficult to not believe in conspiracies. Everywhere you look you find something else disgusting and vile about how they are running the country and treating its citizens.