Saturday, November 04, 2006

Must Read IMHO

Know thine enemy:

From the Carpetbagger Report.

Superman Is Dead

Superman stood for Truth, Justice and The American Way.

Truth? You gotta be kidding? There's almost no truth with Bushco except when dim son said, “I would say the best moment of all [in his presidency] was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake.”

Which was also a lie. The fishing might have been his best moment, but the perch certainly wasn't so large.
Justice? Surely you jest.

Four years later, many just want to die. They starve themselves for long periods of time and attempt bloody suicides. The government responds by forcing tubes down their throats. People are trying to kill themselves to get out of custody, because they have no legal recourse. "They won't let us live, but they won't let us die," one of our clients explained.

(read more)
The American Way?
President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

(read more)

I'm pretty sure Superman committed suicide because he couldn't take it anymore.

They're Just Bullies

I have no idea if this guy was imprisoned for good reaon or not. Without a court case, I have to assume he's innocent. But the government's position is atrocious:
The U.S. government filed a motion Friday seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an aspiring American filmmaker who spent two months in an Iraqi prison without being charged.

The American Civil Liberties Union of California filed the federal lawsuit in July on behalf of Cyrus Kar, 45, of Los Angeles. It alleges the filmmaker's detention violated his civil rights, the Geneva Convention and the law of nations. Defendants include Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other military officials.

In response to the lawsuit, U.S. attorneys cautioned the court to carefully consider getting entangled in military operations overseas and said Kar cannot challenge the government's policies without "a realistic threat that he will again be subject to detention in Iraq by the United States military officers." [emphasis mine]

These thugs are just bullying this guy.

(read more)

Pacifist Constitutions Are A Good Thing

Here's hoping the protesters prevail.
Nine Japanese civic groups have voiced their opposition to a move by some politicians to change the country's pacifist constitution.

The protest was attended by some 360 people in Tokyo's Shibuya district.

Japan's constitution, written after World War II, renounces war as a sovereign right and says military forces will never be maintained.

(courtesy link because I posted the whole article)

Waste And Fraud In Iraq? Surely You Jest

Stop looking behind the curtain. Its none of your business:
Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.

And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowen’s supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

The order comes in the form of an obscure provision that terminates his federal oversight agency, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, on Oct. 1, 2007. The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation.

(read more)

Cat Blogging

Of course its not a cat. I have no cat. Its a baby yak. Three letters including an "A" in the middle. Close enough for blogging.

This Can't Be Good: Greenhouse Gases Increasing

We humans sure hate we humans. Otherwise how to explain why we insist on destroying ourselves?
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high in 2005 and are still increasing, the U.N. weather agency said Friday.

The measurements coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization show that the global average concentrations of carbon dioxide, or CO2, and nitrous oxide, or N2O, reached record levels last year and are expected to increase even further this year, said Geir Braathen, a climate specialist at the Geneva-based agency.

"There is no sign that N2O and CO2 are starting to level off," Braathen said at the global body's European headquarters. "It looks like it will just continue like this for the foreseeable future."

And right on cue comes this item.

(read more)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Welsh Walk Of Fame

I don't usually do "celebrity" blogging. Too boring. But this caught my eye.
Stars like Sir Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton - who already feature on Hollywood's Walk of Fame - and Catherine Zeta Jones could be celebrated in the Welsh version.

Catherine Zeta Jones is Welsh? I swear I learn something new every day.

(read more)

US Greater Threat To World Than NoKorea?

The Britons, Israelies, Canadians and Mexicans think so.

The ICM poll ranks the US president with some of
his bitterest enemies as a cause of global anxiety.

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.

(read more)

Feeling secure? Well don't #11

If you're worried NoKorea will give nukular information to al-Qaeda, you can relax because Bushco already has.
Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

The site website has been taken down, but who knows who downloaded the documents while the website was up?

(read more)

File Under: Its About Damn Time

Bushco's war against science has been going on seemingly forever. Now someone is doing something about it.
Two federal agencies are investigating whether the Bush administration tried to block government scientists from speaking freely about global warming and censor their research, a senator said Wednesday.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., said he was informed that the inspectors general for the Commerce Department and NASA had begun "coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration's censorship and suppression" of federal research into global warming.

"These investigations are critical because the Republicans in Congress have ignored this serious problem," Lautenberg said.

He said the investigations "will uncover internal documents and agency correspondence that may expose widespread misconduct." He added, "Taxpayers do not fund scientific research so the Bush White House can alter it."

(read more)

Two Versions Of Dubya’s Yale Grades

That's the title of a post by Margie Burns. Very interesting and not the least surprising.

(read more)

Back To The Courts

Let's hope this time it is definitively established Bushco is violating the Constitution.
Lawyers for dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to declare a key part of President Bush's new military trials law unconstitutional.

The detainees' lawyers challenged the military's authority to arrest people overseas and detain them indefinitely without allowing them to use the U.S. courts to contest their detention.

Bush gave the military that authority last month when he signed a law that sets up special commissions to hold trials for foreigners designated as "enemy combatants." Bush hailed the law as a crucial tool in the war on terrorism and said it would allow prosecution of several high-level terror suspects.

In written arguments, attorneys for more than 100 detainees who would be locked out of the regular judicial system asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to let the detainees keep their legal challenges going in civilian courts.

The framers of the Constitution never would have permitted the government to hold people indefinitely without charges, the lawyers wrote.

"Persons imprisoned without charge must retain the right to obtain a court inquiry into the factual and legal bases for their imprisonment," they wrote.

(read more)

Like A Snowball

It just keeps on rolling:
Democrats hold a sizeable lead over Republicans with a week to go until the critical midterm congressional elections, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll.

If the election for the House of Representatives were held today, 52 percent of likely voters would support the Democratic candidate in their district, versus just 34 percent who would vote for the Republican — an 18-point advantage for the Democrats, four points more than a month ago.

Iraq remains by far the most important issue for voters, with 27 percent naming it their top concern, followed by the economy and jobs (13 percent), illegal immigration (8 percent) and terrorism (7 percent).

(read more)

Such A Nice Close-Knit Group

How the hell did Kerry get in there?
Yes, George W Bush, his father, and grandfather Prescott are/were Skull and Bones members, as is John Kerry.

S&B is rumored to be affiliated with a secret German society, and as a coincidence one might note that Bonesman Prescott Bush was a key player in the USA in helping the German Nazis come to power, and was at one point arrested under the Trading With the Enemy Act (more info here or here).

Trivia: Did you know that George W Bush (S/B 1968) has appointed 11 Bonesmen?


Not A Good Trend At All

Wake up, fools.
Who can remember all the way back to last summer, when we had daylight savings time, baseball and $3 a gallon gasoline prices?

Not American car buyers, apparently, and you can see the evidence in the results of October auto sales.

Sales of big pickup trucks and SUVs went through the roof - doubling from the year before in some cases. Sales of small, fuel-efficient cars, meanwhile, remained stagnant. It is as if all that moaning and groaning about price gouging by oil companies never happened.


Some People Understand

It appears these guys "get it".


We Can Now Relax. The Iraqi Forces Are In Control

Unfortunately I don't think the donkey will talk, unlike the idiot-in-chief.
A major victory in the war against terror -- reported by AFP:

BAQUBA, Iraq, Nov 1, 2006 (AFP) - Iraqi forces have seized a donkey laden with land mines on the border with Iran, police in the border province of Diyala said Wednesday.

"Smugglers were bringing 52 mines from Iran on a donkey. When we intercepted them, the smugglers managed to escape back across the border but we got the donkey," an officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.


Nope. Not Gonna Post About Ted Haggard Except For This Link

Ted Haggard 27/7 via AMERICAblog.

Disclaimer: I'm not anti-AMERICAblog. I love it, but feel its going a li'l overboard on ol' Teddy.

No, No, No! This Is Not Right Regardless

How many troops in Iraq are murdering civilians? .01% 2% 10%? I have no idea, but to categorize all of them as blood thirsty animals or heinous criminals is just plain wrong. And I'm shocked Sy Hersh suggests they be greeted as baby killers.
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.

“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”

(read more)

This Is A Huge Problem

Many Americans like seafood, but it's life-blood for millions of people around the world. It isn't a nice change of diet, but almost their sole diet.
The world will run out of seafood by 2048 if steep declines in marine species continue at current rates, according to a study released today by an international group of ecologists and economists.

The paper, published in the journal Science, concludes that overfishing, pollution, and other environmental factors are wiping out important species across the globe, hampering the ocean's ability to produce seafood, filter nutrients and resist the spread of disease.

"We really see the end of the line now," said lead author Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Canada's Dalhousie University. "It's within our lifetime. Our children will see a world without seafood if we don't change things."

(read more)

Thursday, November 02, 2006



Have no idea how I attached this graphic to a post about Kerry, but I never claimed to be perfect. Come to think of it, I've never claimed to be average.

Anway, this graphic illustrates how the US government sees Iraq. It's slowly slipping toward chaos. Inevitably would be a better adverb.

Sorry for the poor quality of the graphic, but we work with what we have. On the left is peace. On the right is chaos. The arrow at the center is when the bomb was exploded in the golden mosque at Samarra.

Golden Mosque at Samarra - before

The bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra began at 7 a.m. on February 22, 2006 when insurgents dressed as Iraqi police officers entered the shrine and captured five guards. The attackers then placed two bombs inside the dome and detonated them, collapsing most of the dome and heavily damaging an adjoining wall.

The attack left the shrine's famous golden dome in ruins. The shrine has enormous significance for Shiites, and its destruction in the midst of growing sectarian violence ignited a nationwide outpouring of rage and panic that sharply underscored Iraq's religous divide. Following the attack, thousands of demonstrators gathered near the shrine, waving Iraqi flags and calling for justice.

There have been no claims of responsibility, though Sunni extremist groups are suspected. A government statement reported that "several suspects" had been detained. This attack and the violent retrbution that followed it seemed to push Iraq closer to civil war. President Talabani was quotes as saying that "we are facing a major conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity. We should all stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war."

Iraq's top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, appealed for calm and called for a week of mourning. The appeal came amid widespread Shiite demonstrations and reports of reprisal violence around Iraq.

Golden Mosque at Samarra - After

(read more)

This Should Surprise No One

Your government is concerned about your right to privacy? Hahaha. Surely you jest.
U.S. privacy protections rank among the worst in the democratic world, a London-based privacy organization said Wednesday.

Privacy International ranked 36 nations around the globe, including all European Union nations and other major democracies, and determined that in categories such as enforcement of privacy laws, the U.S. is on par with countries like China, Russia and Malaysia.

Overall, the U.S. was determined to be an "extensive surveillance society,” the second-lowest rating in the study.

The survey identified Malaysia, China and Russia as the world’s lowest-ranked countries in terms of privacy. It ranked Germany and Canada as those that best protect the privacy of their citizens.

"The rankings establish for the first time that most of the world’s most economically advanced countries have failed to protect the privacy rights of their citizens, while some of the newest and poorest democracies have become best protectors," wrote Privacy International director Simon Davies in announcing the report.

"This is damning evidence that privacy is being destroyed by the very nations that proclaim to respect our rights," he said. "It is clear that there is a systemic failure of legal mechanisms to protect us against the emerging surveillance society. Those responsible for protecting our rights have failed to do so ... Australia, Britain and the United States have not only performed abysmally but they are embracing surveillance at an alarming speed."

What bothers me is why so few of US are concerned about this. We're being violated and most Americans couldn't care less. Dunderheads.

(read more)

Must Read IMHO

It's refreshing if not fantastic when someone on the right realizes they've been taken. I understand John Cole's post. The Repugs weren't always Repugs. They were a party of people who had a different take on things, but you could see their point even when you didn't accept it. Now, of course, they're just loony.
What makes this even more frustrating is that not only do I feel like I have been duped, but I established a lot of friends in the right wing of the blogging community- and now I read their pages and I can’t believe what I am reading, even though I know that five years ago I probably would have been saying the same or similar things. I know many of them as people- and not just GOP parrots- having spent time working on collaborative projects with them, serving on the editorial board at Red State, appearing on radio shows with them- you name it. I have, at one point in time, defended many of them from what I perceived to be unfair attacks. So I know that by and large they are not bad people (Dan Riehl is an unmitigated asshole, however). Yet I read their pages now, and through my eyes, it looks like they are so divorced from reality it makes me question what, if anything, I ever believed in.

I'm not gloating here. I admire an intelligent person coming to an intelligent conclusion about politics. John deserves admiration.

And I give him credit for being so honest. Gawd how I wish Bushco could do the same.

(read more)

Who Rulz In Iraq?

Hint: it ain't Bushco or al-Maliki.
There is a war going on -- and I don't mean the fake one between the White House and John Kerry. I mean the real one, in Iraq.

And each and every day, there's more evidence that President Bush's strategy for winning that war isn't working.

Bush's plan calls for American troops to remain in the country as long as it takes for a democratic central government to take hold. But there's little sign that the government has been able to exercise any authority whatsoever outside the fortified Green Zone. The rest of Baghdad is in the throes of civil war. The Kurdish north is essentially independent, the south is ruled by Shiite militias and the Sunni center is in a state of anarchy.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's supposed unity government surprised everyone by showing it is capable of exercising authority -- but it wasn't the sort of act that bodes well for the future.

Maliki showed he can serve his Shiite militia masters by stopping the U.S. military from bothering them.

Can you say Muqtada al-Sedr? Well, maybe you can't, but he's the power broker in Iraq.


Kerry's Stupid Mistake

I personally wouldn't want to be represented by guys this stupid:

A few Democratic candidates joined Republicans Wednesday in pressing John Kerry to apologize for a comment critics said appeared disrespectful of U.S. troops as several Kerry campaign appearances were canceled.

"Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said," said Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., running for Senate in Tennessee.

"Sen. Kerry's remarks were poorly worded and just plain stupid," said Montana Senate President Jon Tester, a Democrat trying to unseat GOP Sen. Conrad Burns . "He owes our troops and their families an apology." [emphasis mine]

If this is how they read and understand news stories, how can they possibly read and understand complicated legislation?

That said, why are they making sure this little dust-up stays in the news? Stupidity...that's the only explanation.

(read more)

These Guys Legislate For US And Write Our Laws?

I personally wouldn't want to be represented by guys this stupid:
A few Democratic candidates joined Republicans Wednesday in pressing John Kerry to apologize for a comment critics said appeared disrespectful of U.S. troops as several Kerry campaign appearances were canceled.

"Whatever the intent, Senator Kerry was wrong to say what he said," said Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., running for Senate in Tennessee.

"Sen. Kerry's remarks were poorly worded and just plain stupid," said Montana Senate President Jon Tester, a Democrat trying to unseat GOP Sen. Conrad Burns . "He owes our troops and their families an apology." [emphasis mine]

If this is how they read and understand news stories, how can they possibly read and understand complicated legislation?

That said, why are they making sure this little dust-up stays in the news? Stupidity...that's the only explanation.

(read more)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

File Under: Not A Good Idea At All

This just isn't a good time to be playing these games:
Iran said on Wednesday that it will stage "extensive" military maneuvers in the Gulf waters starting from Thursday, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

Commander-in-Chief of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Seyed Yahya Rahim Safavi made the announcement as U.S.-led military maneuvers aimed at blocking the smuggling of nuclear weapons material and arms proliferation were being held in the Gulf waters.

The upcoming Iranian war games - codenamed "The Great Prophet 2"- are due to be carried out till Nov. 11 in the Gulf waters, the Sea of Oman and 14 provinces of the country, Safavi told a press conference.

The maneuvers will be staged by the IRGC's air, ground and navy forces as well as the Basij militia troops, he said.

(I've included the whole article)

White House Raps Kerry For Remarks On Iraq

Update Below.

OK. I'll weigh in on this story that won't die.

IT SHOULD! There's nothing there:
An embarrassing faux pas by 2004 presidential candidate John Kerry sparked President George W. Bush's Republicans, six days before key Congressional elections.

Yes, it was a faux pas. He blew a joke and it came out sounding wrong, but it takes someone who is anti-Kerry or anti-Dems to hear/read it wrong.

Update: Here's the joke as it was supposed to be delivered: "I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

(read more)

Remember The Alamo

Baghdad is looking more and more like the Alamo every day. Now troops in Baghdad can't get out.
Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.

This can't be good.

(read more)

Voter Fraud Continues

As if it had really stopped. And yes, its the Repugs doing it.
With a major GOP federal court victory, the Ohio 2006 election has descended into the calculated chaos that has become the trademark of a Karl Rove election theft, and that could help keep the Congress in Republican hands nationwide.

Through a complex series of legal maneuvers, and now a shocking new decision from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the GOP has thrown Ohio's entire process of voting and vote counting into serious disarray. The mess is perfectly designed to suppress voter turnout, make election monitoring and a recount impossible, and allow the Republican Party to emerge with a victory despite overwhelming evidence the electorate wants exactly the opposite.

(read more)

This Is Probably A Waste Of Money

The old saying of throwing good money after bad comes to mind. But hey, it ain't his money.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to spend at least $1 billion to expand the size and accelerate the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces.

"I'm very comfortable with the increases they've proposed and the accelerations in achievement of some of their targets," Rumsfeld told reporters at the
Pentagon, noting that the Iraqi government and Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, both recommended expanding Iraqi forces.

"Now it's simply a matter of our pressing forward and getting our portion of the funding from the Congress and working to see that it's executed," Rumsfeld said. He did not say how much extra U.S. money would be required.

So far, the U.S. government has spent roughly $10 billion on developing the Iraqi security forces, according to the latest report released by the Pentagon special inspector general who audits U.S. work in Iraq. One official described the proposed extra money as more than $1 billion, but would not offer specifics.


Of course Rummy is ignoring the opinion of someone who should know what's what:
"I wouldn't let half of them feed my dog," 1st Lt. Floyd D. Estes Jr., a former head of the police transition team, said of the Iraqi police. "I just don't trust them."

(read more)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oh, There's An Election Coming Soon? I Forgot

Ayman al Zawahiri and da bombing

Of course November 7 has nothing to do with the timing of this attack. Nothing whatsoever.
Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of a Predator missile attack this morning on a religious school in Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

ABC News has learned the raid was launched after U.S. intelligence received tips and examined Predator reconnaissance indicating that al Qaeda's No. 2 man may have been staying at the school, which is located in the Bajaur region near the village that is thought to be al Qaeda's winter headquarters.

Despite earlier reports that the missiles had been launched by Pakistani military helicopters, Pakistani intelligence sources now tell ABC News that the missiles were fired from a U.S. Predator drone plane.

Between two and five senior al Qaeda militants were killed in the attack, including the mastermind of the airliners plot in the U.K., according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

No word yet on whether or not Zawahiri was killed in the raid, but one Pakistani intelligence source did express doubt that Zawahiri would have been staying in a madrassa, which is an obvious target for strikes against militants. That source, however, did express confidence that Pakistani intelligence is closing in on Zawahiri's location. [emphasis mine]

(read more)