When you're a pirate, some dangers just come with the territory: scurvy, grog hangovers, a walk down the plank at sword point.
But being kicked out of school for a day?
Bryan Killian doesn't think that's a fair reaction to his decision to come to North Buncombe High School wearing an eye patch and an inflatable cutlass.
The sophomore spent Wednesday at home after an administrator took issue with his accessories.
Buncombe County Schools says the eye patch was disruptive to classroom instruction. The student's refusal to take it off after four warnings led to discipline, the district said.
"I feel like my First Amendment was violated," Killian, 16, said. "Freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That's what I tried to do, and I got shot down."
Freedom of religion?
Yes, Killian says, his "pirate regalia" is part of his faith — the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The parody religion, whose "Pastafarian" members worship a sentient, airborne clump of noodles and meatballs, originated in a letter to the Kansas school board urging it to add the religion to its plans to teach evolution and intelligent design side by side. [...] "If this is what I believe in, no matter how stupid it might sound, I should be able to express myself however I want to," he said.
An eye patch is no more disruptive than a Christian cross around one's neck, he said.
His teachers saw it the same way, he said, but Assistant Principal Sarah Cooley didn't. She assigned him two days of in-school suspension before calling his home to add out-of-school suspension.
"It has nothing to do with religious beliefs," school district spokesman Stan Alleyne rushed to say when asked about the suspension. "We respect students' religious beliefs."
With all the hand(maiden) wringing about Sweet Jesus one would think the poor, downtrodden, christian minority majority would support the faith of others.
Fun fact: The reason the Gallery canceled the My Sweet Lord show?
The hotel and the gallery were overrun Thursday with angry phone calls and e-mails [...] the calls included death threats" [...] In this situation, the hotel couldn't continue to be supportive because of a fear for their own safety," [Matt Semler, the gallery's creative director] said.
Under his plea deal, the 31-year-old forfeited the right to appeal or sue the US government and he agreed to a 12-month gag preventing him from speaking with media.
Hicks also stipulated he had "never been illegally treated" while in US custody, but his father, Terry Hicks, said his son would say anything just to get out of Guantanamo Bay. [...] Greens leader Bob Brown described the nine month sentence as a farce designed to save Prime Minister John Howard's "political hide".
"It is clearly a political fix arranged between Mr Howard and the Bush administration to shut up Hicks until after the election in November," Senator Brown said.
But Mr Howard said it was "absurd" to think the government influenced the sentencing of Hicks.
"He pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation - namely al-Qaeda," Mr Howard said. [...] "The bottom line will always be that he pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organisation."
But this isn't!?:
Iran airs second sailor 'apology' A second member of the Royal Navy crew captured in the Gulf has apologised for "trespassing" in Iranian waters, in a broadcast on Iranian television.
The crewman, who introduces himself as Nathan Thomas Summers, says: "I would like to apologise for entering your waters without permission." [...] He then says: "Since we've been arrested in Iran our treatment has been very friendly.
"We have not been harmed at all. They've looked after us really well.
"The food they've been serving us is good and I am grateful that no harm has come to us.
"I would just like to apologise for entering your waters without permission. And that happened back in 2004, and the government promised that it wouldn't happen again. [...] Mr Blair said: "I really don't know why the Iranian regime keep doing this. All it does is enhance people's sense of disgust at captured personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way. [...] UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett described the latest footage as "quite appalling" and "blatant propaganda".
Well golly, I just looked at their recent posts and they mentioned nothing about how many of their fellow citizens died in the last week, but they did post about how their house was searched by Americans troops, what an excellent experience it was, and they took this photo: What's striking to me is that even Iraqi bloggers who insist that things are getting better all the time won't let their faces be shown.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:56 AM Permalink
Anecdotal: Not too long ago, Mr. Vidiot and I were wandering around Brooklyn looking for an apartment, wondering if we could afford to buy anything that even resembled a home. We were in Bed Stuy and though the neighborhood has a spotty reputation, there were parts of it that were being gentrified, which meant that the parts of it that hadn't been gentrified yet were still affordable... sorta. We had just looked at an apartment that was brand new. The couple was showing the top floor and second floor. They lived on the first two floors. What was odd was that they showed us their apartment as well. They said that they were considering renting it out and moving to one of the smaller apartments because they could get more money for the duplex. The woman was visibly nervous about that possibility. She looked like she did NOT want to give up her brand new home that was probably the nicest place she had ever lived.
Anyway, we were looking around and we found this one real estate office and walked in, just for kicks. They sat us down and said, "Sure. We've got lots of nice new construction out here. They have an owner's duplex with one or two rentals and they go for about $500,000."
"$500,000," we said. "Why, we could never afford something that pricey."
And without missing a beat, the smarmy real estate guy said, "Oh, sure you can. We just put a family in one last month. They only make $35K a year. We have a way to work the financing."
Ways to work the financing.
And this, people, is what happened everywhere. Some smarmy real estate guy talked some poor saps into buying a home they shouldn't buy. And now it's news that this is happening to million dollar homes.
Excerpt:"Because of the financing that was possible, so many people bought the bigger house, the million-dollar house with the bowling alley or the tennis court outside," says Guzek, who works for GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nonprofit service based in Farmington Hills, Michigan. "People across all income brackets are having financial hardship."
Of course it's happening to million dollar homes. That's what homes cost in an inflated market. And there's no end in sight either.
Excerpt:Bay State mortgage foreclosures have hit a record high for the second straight month, and a top market watcher warns problems will “continue at astronomical levels well into 2007.”
Who do I blame?
Top on my list is the media. Yes, the media. Now, I know, I blame the media for a lot of stuff, but hear me out: If it weren't for the media, and by media, I don't just mean the obvious, like the "news" programs that constantly pump out "economic good times" propaganda. I'm also talking about the commercials, the advertising and the programming of everything, from The Gilmore Girls to the OC. What do you see when you watch the commercials and the programs? You see beautiful, big houses with lots and lots of stuff in them. You see happy people with money. You see sad people if they look like they don't have money. You see it in ads for dishwashing soap. You see it in TV shows about angst-laden teenagers who should be riddled with Chlamydia but aren't. It's everywhere. If it weren't for this constant presentation of an impossible-to-acquire "reality", would we all even think of wanting the big house with the cooking island and the half bath in the guest room? I doubt it.
Next on the list are the smarmy real estate people who sold these properties to people, knowing full well that when the mortgage ballooned, the buyer would be screwed. Then, next on the list, the bankers who actually made the loans, knowing that no matter what, they'd be selling the debt to someone else (Freddie Mac) and it wouldn't be their problem in the long run.
There are various and other sundry miscreants who played a role in this nightmare. Greenspan for instance, for keeping the interest rates down too long because the "powers that be" needed a bubble to prop up whatever else was going on with the US economy. (Iraq, hint hint)
I feel so bad for all those people who finally got into their dream home only to find that a few years down the road, they're either looking at foreclosure or negative equity or both.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:45 AM Permalink
You know the commercials I'm talking about. They're the ones that are broadcast late a night on basic cable. They're either selling some useless gizmo or some sort of sex-related item. So, since I tape the Daily Show at 1am (so I can watch it for breakfast since Comedy Central moved the Daily Show rebroadcast from 8am to 9am those bastards) I get to see the lovely, high-production quality advertisements. So, the other night, when I was just about to fast forward through the commercials, I saw a commercial with really bad-looking aliens and well, since we all know I love anything having to do with aliens, I watched.
Funny thing, turned out it was an ad for one of those "gentleman clubs" out in Long Island City (which is basically a part of Queens, just off the 59th Stree bridge.)
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:40 PM Permalink
I have nothing to say about whether or not the Iraq blog bush mentioned is a phlog or not, even though there seems to be some sort of an internet brouhaha over its legitimacy and possible connection to the CIA.
I mean, if there is no more war, if the Iraq war is really over, then what war are these guys trying to put an end to?
Excerpt: The Appeal for Redress is a confidential online petition to Congress asking for an end to the Iraq war. Because the Uniform Code of Military Justice expressly permits members of the military to petition their representatives, the Appeal is 100 percent legal, and since its unveiling in late 2006 the Appeal has gathered over 1,700 signatures.
Well, that's the BBC. Reporting the news that they're told to report. Once again.
Excerpt: An alternate local BBC report-- which included a live time-stamp-- now positively establishes that BBC reported the collapse of WTC Building 7 at least 25-minutes prior to the actual collapse of the building.
Shafley Wants to Reduce Women to Status of Chattel
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:22 PM Permalink You read and hear a lot of really ugly things and ideas from "conservative republicans of the GOP" but the comments of Phyllis Schlafly, another of the dried-up crones of Kate O'Bierne's ilk are just so thoroughly disgusting and out-of-step with the times (Hell, she's out-of-step for the 19th century).
The event was sponsored by the Bates College Republicans.…For nearly two hours, she belittled the feminist movement as "teaching women to be victims," decried intellectual men as "liberal slobs" and argued that feminism "is incompatible with marriage and motherhood."…Schlafly asserted women should not be permitted to do jobs traditionally held by men, such as firefighter, soldier or construction worker, because of their "inherent physical inferiority."…"Women in combat are a hazard to other people around them," she said. "They aren't tall enough to see out of the trucks, they're not strong enough to carry their buddy off the battlefield if he's wounded, and they can't bark out orders loudly enough for everyone to hear."…At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.…"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.…During the 1970s and 1980s, Schlafly played an integral role in defeating the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.…"The ERA was a fraud," she said, comparing it to the absurdities of the political correctness trend of the 1990s, which also preached gender neutrality. "(The ERA) pretended to benefit women, but it didn't. It was just the nuttiness of feminists who were promoting an androgynous society. They didn't put 'women' in the Constitution, they put 'sex' in the Constitution."…While Schlafly said she has no problem with women raising a family and pursuing a professional career, she said they can't be done at the same time.
Is there any woman in existence as despicable as this one?
Excerpt: Sanjaya Malakar has made the top ten of American Idol, but we all know that there is no way that he can win the competition. Eventually, there will come a point in time when the votes of those who vote for the best singer will no longer be split between various finalists, and their votes will out number the votes of those who vote for the worst singer. Right?
I think the whole vote for the worst thing is brilliant. I've always intensely disliked the show and was hoping it would end. This might actually kill it. Not only that, it's a delightfully entertaining parable on voting and vote manipulation.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:38 PM Permalink Fortunately for the world and America ever more people are abandoning the sinking ship of state as helmed by bush. If this loss of friendship and respect continues, eventually bush's isolation will be complete, or at least complete enough to solidify his status as the lame duck he is (with apologies to all ducks, lame or hearty and hale).
His coalition of the willing is rapidly becoming the coalition of the gone, and now even old family friends and business partners are not only beginning to ooze away from bush, but to run and condemn him.
[President bush's] decision to schedule a mid-April White House gala for Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah signified the president's high regard for an Arab monarch who is also a Bush family friend.…Now the White House ponders what Abdullah's sudden and sparsely explained cancellation of the dinner signifies.…Abdullah's bowing out of the April 17 event is, in fact, one more warning sign that the Bush administration's downward spiral at home is undermining its ability to achieve its policy objectives abroad.…Friends as well as foes see the need, or the chance, to distance themselves from the politically besieged Bush.…the Saudis, too, know how to read election returns. They see Bush swimming against a tide of scandal and stench that engulfs his most trusted aides. In the traditional Saudi worldview, this is a moment to hedge, not to indulge in the kind of leadership needed to break the Israeli-Palestinian deadlock or the deadly morass of Iraq.
" They see Bush swimming against a tide of scandal and stench that engulfs his most trusted aides." Think about that statement, which I believe is essentially true, but I would have phrased it as, "They see bush overwhelmed and drowning in a tide of scandal and stench that engulfs bush and his most trusted aides."
The stench of corruption in this maladministration starts at the top and slowly but inexorably engulfs the rest of the GOP like an unstoppable mudslide. If the country is lucky bush will have so tainted the GOP, Republican brand that they will be relegated to political obscurity.
The world watches and the longer this debacle in Iraq continues the more America will continue to see allies and friends fall by the wayside and refuse to play bush's bullsh*t games.
posted by Global Patriot Worker @ 4:39 PM Permalink
I have been overcome by a strange and sick sense that we have made more progress in this country than I thought. We have Gitmo where folks can be incarcerated and tried in a hurry, we have those big “FEMA” camps for mass internments and we have a few good prosecutors out of work. Here’s what I am getting at. Some day soon, and I think it will be very soon, the dam of truth is going to break on the REAL story of the events of 9/11/01. At that point the nation will suffer a wave of shock, mostly by those that don’t get information from the internet. There will be cries of how could we have let this happen when in fact Americans DID let this happen by trusting their government too much. The warnings of Thomas Jefferson will be invoked when most people haven’t looked at that founder’s words ever. But most of all, most of all, we will have fantastic infrastructure in place to deal with the sheer volume of folks involved in this and associated false flag events. After all there will be the actuaries, the people who planted and detonated the explosives in the world trade centers, there will be the designers and facilitators of the media psyop/coverup, there will be the military folks who gave the stand down/stand around orders to our fighter jets, there will be NORAD and FAA folks, there will be structural engineer phony/investigator types, there will be the 9/11 Commission, The Secret Service, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfy, Feith, Georgie Boy, Myers and God only knows who else! Yet we will have room for them all! Federal Accomplices to Maniacal Activities…FEMA facilities, tailor made for their own enjoyment. Maybe then they will see how much fun Abu Gharaib was for Baathists in Iraq! We really have done well in the past few years preparing for terrorists, wherever they emanate from!
Think of how much money we will be saving when we apologize and get out of the Mideast. That money can be spent funding clean elections, building electric cars and rebuilding a nation from this hemisphere, that we love so much, America. Some international cooperation towards busting REAL bad guys may even be in the offing like those that have so much fun with black money, drugs and guns. Maybe this is our golden opportunity (and I hate that word being connected to 9/11) to lead by example. How about public trials with Habeas Corpus in place followed by a few public hangings at ground zero for the proven guilty. All of that goodwill we had on 9/12/01 may instantly start flowing back. Maybe we can return to rule by law instead of rule by privilege. After that we can tear down Gitmo and the FEMA camps leaving just enough of stuff in place and funded as a reminder to anyone that attempts anything like this in the future that we are ready for you!
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:45 PM Permalink Our worst-president-and-world-leader-ever has finally managed to accomplish something on his own with no help from Mummy and Daddy. The sad part is that the thing he has accomplished will operate to our detriment for decades to come.
bush has destroyed the "democracy" brand and so tainted it that other nations either refuse to practice democracy, or in areas where there is a democratic vote held, they vote into office people adamantly opposed to American hegemony and interests.
Fallout from the Iraq war has prompted a new "realism" in US foreign policy…edging out early Bush administration ideals of promoting democracy around the world…US President George W. Bush…still says that ideological change is an integral part of what he calls the "war on terror."…Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice…was "really concerned" last week on the eve of an Egyptian constitutional referendum that opponents said was certain to curb freedoms.…Experts say the crippling war in Iraq has forced Washington to pursue "realist" policies over Bush's earlier "idealist" ways.…"The failure of US policy in Iraq has provided autocratic regimes in the Middle East a reprieve from the pressure to democratize…For Thomas Carothers, [of] the Carnegie Endowment, dictators of the world have beat back democratic principles by presenting them as a new manifestation of US imperialism.…"Some autocratic governments have won substantial public sympathy by arguing that opposition to Western democracy-promotion is resistance not to democracy itself, but to American interventionism.…"Moreover, the damage that the Bush administration has done to the global image of the United States as a symbol of democracy and human rights by repeatedly violating the rule of law at home and abroad has further weakened the legitimacy of the democracy-promotion cause."
So here's another log to throw onto the fire of a bush legacy: the corruption of democracy as politically popular form of government and the contempt of the world for the tenets of democracy as put forth by bush.
As the world watches bush decimate our military, corrupt our government, defy the will of the world and the American people, and continue unabated his efforts to invade and conquer the oil-rich countries, it should be expected that other countries will continue to view American democracy and Americans with utter contempt.
I'm starting to be at a loss for words describe this kind of behaviour, little wonder we hear so little moralising from this administration about the goings on in Zimbabwe. In a regime who's hypocrisy seemingly knows no limits, I think even they must know when it hasn't a moral leg to stand on. Were Bushco to try to utter any moral word to Mugabe over his human rights record the evil sod would fall about laughing, perhaps halting just long enough to tell the US to look to it's own house before criticising anyone.
And who could blame him, personally I cannot differentiate between Mugabe's regime or Bush's. America and Zimbabwe equals, brothers in the cesspit if you will. This then the latest from Candace Gorman at Huffpo, but a more stunning read is to be found in the "brought up on charges" link to an earlier piece she wrote.
David Hicks, the Australian man that has been held in Guantánamo for five years, (the last year or so in solitary confinement) agreed to plead guilty yesterday. There are a few things you should know about his plea. First, and most importantly, Hicks is pleading guilty to a crime that did not exist on the books until September of 2006.
All of the original charges (the serious ones) were dropped against Hicks because the military had no evidence against him. Mr. Hicks was confined at Guantánamo until a new law could be passed that he could then be charged with. Never mind the fact that our constitution prohibits ex post facto (retroactive) laws, I mean that is why we are holding him at Guantánamo right?
Katie Couric, Cruelest B*tch in America? or Hypocrite?
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:41 PM Permalink As a cancer survivor myself I was shocked and appalled by Katie Couric's cruel insensitivity to the plight of John and Elizabeth Edwards. I was further outraged that she would criticize them for wanting to continue on their life's path just like Katie Couric herself put her career before her cancer-ridden husband. She worked right up until he died and afterwards and certainly she benefitted from the goodwill of people who claimed to understand her situation and were sympathetic.
Given that, how dare she use the journalistically lazy and dishonest straw man charade of "Some people say this, some people say that" without citing a shred of evidence that anyone had said any of the things she so cruelly asked?
Some people watching this would say, "I would put my family first always, and my job second." And you're doing the exact opposite. You're putting your work first, and your family second.
To keep this short: Katie Couric is nothing but an administration suck-up, and a heartless, cruel, ignorant, hypocritical, sycophantic, 100% asinine B*TCH, eh?
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:12 AM Permalink
Of course, the US attorney thing is just getting weirder and wilder. Go to talkingpointsmemo.com for the best and must up-to-date info on that. (There's an excellent point made over there about the aide that's trying to plead the 5th.) Some of the posters at dKos are also spinning the story a bit.
posted by The Sailor @ 6:11 PM PermalinkBump and update: The Out of Iraq Blogroll is now ensconced on our right sidebar. No, lower ... keep going ... just a litttle lower and to the right ... ahhh, that's the spot!
Original post: From my friend Edger at Edgeing comes a great idea which we proudly support:
1) Opposed to the supplemental. 2) Opposed to funding Bush's Iraq Debacle. 3) Committed to getting the troops home as soon as possible. 4) Determined to end George W. Bush's Iraq and Mid-East Debacle as quickly as possible. 5) Determined to restore some sanity to the world.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:02 PM Permalink Something has bothered me for a long time now and just drives me crazy (like I haven't been there before), and it is something so simple and, I thought, so well known that it baffles me as to why more people don't see it.
I'm sure that everyone in the world remembers the Clinton/Lewinsky debacle that resulted in the impeachment without conviction of Bill Clinton. Everyday on every station all the Republicans preached was that "the chief law enforcement officer" of America, constitutionally required to "…take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" had committed perjury, an offense so heinous that the "Rule of Law" demanded that he be prosecuted.
They were right: Article 2, Section 3, describing the duties and responsibilities of the president, does contain the provision that, "…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…" which obviously makes the president the chief law enforcement officer of these United States. Not the U.S. Attorney General, the chief prosecutor for the U.S.
So why do the Republicans now claim that the U.S. Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer? Is the semantic change an effort to reduce the tarnishing of the office of the president at a time when, arguably, the president is the most prolific law-breaker in American history? Is it so the "Rule of Law" the rethuglicans used to swear to be the guardians of won't apply to bush?
It just makes me wonder. But one thing I know beyond doubt: The GOP, the republicans, the presidential sycophants in congress and throughout the bush maladministration have forever forfeited their right to claim belief in the "Rule of Law."
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:09 PM Permalink In my opinion Bob Novak is an absolute dirtbag and nothing more than a propaganda puppet for the bush/cheney maladministration, but every once in awhile he writes a column that simply cracks me up. It isn't that he is deliberately trying to be funny, but when he writes so seriously of the doom-and-gloom scenarios facing the most politically corrupt party on the face of the earth, the GOP, the irony is too rich to be ignored.
…Last week, as Alberto Gonzales came under withering Democratic fire, there were no public GOP declarations of support amid private predictions of the attorney general's demise.…Republican leaders in Congress (asking not to be quoted by name) early last week predicted Gonzales would fall because the Justice Department botched firing eight U.S. attorneys.…Republicans in Congress do not trust Bush to protect them.…That alone is sufficient reason to withhold statements of support for Gonzales, when such a gesture could be quickly followed by his resignation under pressure.…The word most often used by Republicans in describing…the Justice Department under Gonzales is "incompetent." [That's what makes him such a good match for bush, isn't it? Bill]…The saving grace that some Republicans find in the dispute over U.S. attorneys is that, at least temporarily, it blurs debate over an unpopular war…The I-word (incompetence) is used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally.…the addition of extraordinary public servants Josh Bolten, Tony Snow and Rob Portman has not changed the image of incompetence…Many more say today's problems by the administration derive from yesterday's mistakes, whose impact persists.…this is just the governing style of Bush.…Bush is alone.
Read the linked article to fully appreciate Republicans once again eating their young and savaging their own president. But I have to say that novak is correct in this one sense:
There is no one in American that needs or deserves to be isolated than bush. Preferably freeze dried and hermetically sealed for the world's protection.
posted by oscar wilde @ 12:00 AM Permalink
U.S. military expert Chalmers Johnson argues the catastrophe in Iraq and the staggering cost of running a military that stretches across 130 countries on 737 bases may finally cost America its empire. More
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:49 PM Permalink I come from a military family and was always taught that service in the military was the most honorable way possible to serve the nation. I enlisted in the Air Force after high school, voluntarily served in Vietnam, and spent a little over six years bumming around Southeast Asia while in service. They were the best times of my life, although I later wound up suffering gravely for having served (Agent Orange exposure) which I have detailed before and will not cover that ground again.
So I have a serious problem with cowards who got five deferments to avoid serving, or those who got a cushy assignment in the National Guard and even then didn't perform to military standards, when they talk about anyone wanting to stop the slaughter of our troops in Iraq as being unpatriotic and "not supporting the troops."
The Big Dick cheney has been touring the country, wasting tax dollars, to speak to groups of sycophantic crowds who already support this maladministration and its corruption, to constantly hammer that false allegation that Dems do not support the troops.
At it again this week, as reported by Yahoo News cheney again makes that claim. Excerpt:
Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday accused the Democrat-led House of not supporting troops in Iraq and of sending a message to terrorists that America will retreat in the face danger.…"They're not supporting the troops. They're undermining them," Cheney told a gathering of the Republican Jewish Coalition at the oceanside Ritz-Carlton hotel in Manalapan, Fla., about 60 miles north of Miami.…Cheney called it a myth that "one can support the troops without giving them the tools and reinforcements they need to carry out their mission."
The sheer hypocrisy of these statements is astounding given that the bush/cheney maladministration is directly responsible for lying to the world to support an attack on Iraq, and the very same people who sent in an insufficient number of troops, with insufficient body armor, with an insufficient number of armored vehicles, and that sat back and watched with glee the looting of Baghdad and the beginnings of the civil war that still rages now.
Why do we tolerate and listen to these cowards any more? They have proven beyond doubt their incompetence at every thing they have undertaken, the list of scandals in this maladministration and the corruption of Republican congressmen and senators is now legendary and far exceeds any alleged wrongdoings of the Clinton presidency, both in number and seriousness.
These cowards have so misused and abused our military that, aside from the units in Iraq, America has only ONE combat ready brigade, and that one is permanently stationed in South Korea.
America no longer is capable of defending itself if attacked without having to pull troops out of Iraq.
America, defenseless. All from the actions of cowards who have never had America's best interests at heart and who browbeat the flag officers of the military into submission and directly caused them to aid in the destruction of the military might of America.
And the cowards-in-charge dares question the patriotism of Democrats and alleges that Dems "undermine the troops" while ignoring the fact that it is they themselves that have undermined the troops every step of the way, even the wounded soldiers who cannot receive adequate care in clean, sanitary surroundings while their wounds heal.
I never thought of saying this about any other president and vice president in my lifetime: America is in the hands of low-down, slimy, disgusting little worms with no honor or morality whatever.
posted by oscar wilde @ 12:36 PM PermalinkGreensboro boy! Why Greensboro North Carolina Is God's Own Little Bit Of Country.
It has lurked there for many a year, tucked away in the back of the mind, but still there none the less. Not unsurprisingly then that it should be brought to the fore after my recent re-hash of "Dildos in South Carolina" article. I know the true heading should be "sex toys," if one were to be pedantic about things, but somehow the word dildo by far better captures the essence of the story, never more so than associating it with Davenport the sponsor of the sex toys bill.
A bill incidentally that would exact far greater penalties for selling a dildo (5 years + $10,000) than would be received for transgressing most of South Carolina's firearms laws,(section 16-23-20) scant few that they are. (That is some wicked amount of jail time.) In fact one only has to have a brief scan as to how few controls are in place for gun purchase that the very thought of it is enough to give us Europeans the heeby jeebies.
That said, given the amount of guns that are in circulation, the murder rate, the violent nature of American society and the disproportionate number of nutters that abound there, I too would want weapon, in fact I would want one for every day of the week and two for Sunday's, definitely two for Sundays, one should always make adequate provision for running foul of those suffering from extreme delusions.
I don't write as an anti-gun activist, after all the damage is done, the guns are out there already, little point then in trying to take away the legal ones, can't have a situation where it's just the black hats running around shooting up Dodge, old Hopalong wouldn't have lasted long under those kind of circumstances.
No not anti-gun at all, I couldn't be, not after being a keen skeet shooter myself, so keen in fact I look back and think about the amount of money I smoked down the end of a barrel and think small countries were run on a lesser budget. If that was the case with my skeet shooting, when I took up trap shooting as an added discipline, well, let's not go there shall we.
But there were reasonable controls in place for gun ownership, and after an incident with a nutter of our own controls went from reasonable to strict. Steel gun cabinets bolted to the wall became mandatory for shotguns, pistol clubs disappeared, in fact I don't think Joe public can own a handgun under any circumstances these days.
It was some time after this I had a wee brush with the law, getting pulled for a DUI, subsequently resulting in a riot act letter from the head honcho in blue. The usual yada yada as to my suitability to own a shotgun , the whole nine yards in fact. He sounded a biteen upset, I can't help but wonder how he would have sounded if he knew I had the gun in the trunk at the time of arrest.
You will have to forgive my little digressions, I quite enjoy going off on little tangents, it keeps my interest if not yours.
The late seventies saw me, my wife, and two small daughters living in Canada but tiring of the place somewhat and before our planned return to England a year later fancied a change of scenery, stateside seemed to fit the bill. Securing a job wasn't a problem at all at all, held in high esteem are we toolmaking Brits, and soon narrowed it down between a choice of two, just let me at this juncture mention pay rates, for no other reason than to highlight how dismally low the minimum wage is at present. I was making eight dollars an hour in Canada, one of the job choices was in Covina California, a place that was looking the favourite of the two, that rascal paid, albeit for fifty hours per week, twenty eight thousand a year, handy enough money by anybodies stretch.
Still sitting on the fence as to which job to accept I read a bit of something in the paper, not whilst sat on the fence of course. Some poor lass not too far from Covina had run afoul of a crazy who took it upon himself to cut the arms off this lass at the elbows, and really didn't have a reason other than he was an evil bastard, well as the parents of two pre-teen girls you can imagine how quickly the luster of California tarnished. So there we were, mind made up for us.
I'd be thinking, I better check out just what kind of gaff the other place was. So I duly phone yer man down there and basically ask him if it's safe for my wife and kids to walk the the streets, you already know the reply: Greensboro boy! Why Greensboro North Carolina is God's own little bit of country.
A former top American diplomat says the US deliberately resisted calls for a immediate ceasefire during the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. [...] Mr Bolton said an early ceasefire would have been "dangerous and misguided". He said the US decided to join efforts to end the conflict only when it was clear Israel's campaign wasn't working. [...] Mr Bolton, a controversial and blunt-speaking figure, said he was "damned proud of what we did" to prevent an early ceasefire. [...] More than 1,000 Lebanese civilians and [...] 43 of [Israel's] civilians were killed
So according to Bolton, killing 1000+ civilians isn't "dangerous and misguided". And he's proud that the US didn't stop the attack until it was clear that Israel was losing.
Personally I think Bolton is "dangerous and misguided."
She included in it a history of backstage dirt that was titillating even to someone who didn’t know any of the principals. She also expressed her opinion that the court neither had nor deserved the respect of the public, and — best of all — her complaint that the court’s press release about the election did not mention that the vote was 4-3 and that she would be preparing a dissent. [...] the present Chief Justice, who went so far as to suggest IN AN OPINION that she should continue her vendetta with a hunger strike because "that seems to have the potential for everyone to be a winner."
Beds also pointed out the AP headline regarding this foofaraw:"Decorum takes a hit as disorder reigns in state supreme court." I say pshaw! As far as I know, nothing reigns in a Supreme Court, including disorder.
So, while Beds wishes he had thought of it first, I think this is a perfect example of the need for judicial restraint ... the padded leather kind.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:38 PM Permalink One of the most disturbing practices of America is to seek imposition of sanctions without a shred, not one scintilla, of evidence of any wrong-doing on the part of the country/s against which America seeks sanctions. That this is done through the auspices of the U.N Security Council, which apparently is afraid to stand up to America, carries little weight absent any evidence to support the request for sanctions.
Nowhere is this more evident than the situation with Iran, which claims the right to peaceful use of nuclear power, while the United States, totally absent any proof, claims that Iran's nuclear program is for the purpose of building nuclear weapons.
The major UN powers have agreed on a new set of sanctions aimed at deterring Iran from building nuclear weapons, Britain's Ambassador to the world body said today.…According to a draft resolution obtained by The Times, the sanctions, which will be presented to the UN Security Council for a vote next week, include a ban on Iranian arms exports; restrictions on the movement of Iranian officials believed to be connected to the country's weapons programme; and the first stage of a block on international investment in Tehran.
Obviously the effort to sanction Iran is to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons, which to the U.N. Security Council appears to be a given. Case closed.
However, further into the article we find this statement:
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, says there is no proof that Iran has a weapons programme but noted last month that the Tehran was accelerating its enrichment processes rather than suspending them, as the UN has demanded.
It is only commonsense that no person or country can "prove a negative", i.e., "When did you stop beating your wife?".
It is therefore impossible for Iran to prove a negative and, obviously, the United States cannot prove the positive, that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. In any responsible court of law such doubt would be a call for dismissal of a case or a finding of reasonable doubt calling for acquittal, but here the U.S. is simply bullying other countries into going along with ever greater sanctions until sufficient provocation for war may arise.
Has America corrupted the U.N. Security Council to the point that they no longer function as a tribunal formed to follow and enforce international law and are now nothing but America's "whipping boys?"
We have known for some time that "furriners" can no longer seek justice or reparation from American courts thanks to bush and his Rubber-stamping 109th Congress. Is it now also impossible for any country the U.S. opposes to get a fair hearing at the U.N., or at least require whatever charges made against them be supported by evidence before sanctions are levied?
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:54 PM Permalink The American public has finally awakened to the fact that bush has been such a disaster people are fleeing the Republican Party in record numbers. The GOP brand has been so damaged by bush and his policies that it may not, god-willing, ever recover what luster it may have previously enjoyed.
I comes as no surprise to me and I am greatly comforted by the ever-shrinking numbers of rethuglicans.
Public allegiance to the Republican Party has plunged during George W. Bush's presidency…a major survey has found.…The survey, by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, found a "dramatic shift" in political party identification since 2002, when Republicans and Democrats were at rough parity. Now, 50% of those surveyed identified with or leaned toward Democrats, whereas 35% aligned with Republicans.…"There are cycles in history where one party or one movement ascends for a while and then it sows the seeds of its own self-destruction," said Bruce Bartlett, a conservative analyst and author of the 2006 book "Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy."…Bartlett added, "It's clear we have come to an end of a Republican conservative era."
Hooray! Where do we send flowers and cards to celebrate the prospective death of a political party that has done so much damage to America? How will we recover our honor, integrity, and diplomatic capabilities? How will we, and how soon, recover the right of habeas corpus ? Can we close Gitmo, stop torturing people, stop the rape and pillaging of the Treasury and our economy? When will we bring the troops home and stop all the nonsense about preemptive war and wars of aggression?
Can we now begin to focus on improving America and the lives of all Americans and stop spending trillions trying to conquer other countries?
Yes, there can be no doubt that bush "…[has] sow[n] the seeds of [the GOPs] own self-destruction." If the GOP does collapse under the weight of bush corruption then it may be that we all owe a vote of thanks to the president for single-handedly sowing those seeds.
posted by The Vidiot @ 9:19 AM Permalink
Well, well, well. This looks like something that could start a war.
Excerpt: "Britain's Ministry of Defense confirms to CNN that Iranian naval vessels have seized 15 British Navy personnel on patrol in the Persian Gulf," says CNN.
They tried to wave this at us, but it's just too silly.
Excerpt: The rocket exploded during a press conference at the prime Minister’s residence, agencies reported. AP said the Katyusha rocket was fired from a mainly Shiite area on the east bank of the Tigris River. The press conference was being held at the residence in the Green Zone on the river’s west bank, which houses Iraqi government buildings and foreign embassies and is heavily guarded by U.S. forces and located. The 8 km-range Katyusha rockets, which were manufactured in the Soviet Union, were used by Iran during its war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988. The Shiite armed organization in Lebanon Hezbollah also occasionally uses them, fueling suspicions that it is backed by Iran.
Excerpt: Scheduled appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Saturday -- to lecture its members before a vote on a resolution tightening and widening sanctions on his regime to curb its nuclear ambition -- is seen by a US diplomat as an occasion to flare up the situation between Tehran and Washington, while other officials view it as an unwise move.
"Flare up the situation"? "Unwise"? To what are they alluding?
posted by oscar wilde @ 7:21 AM Permalink
"Since the invasion of Iraq four years ago, some 134 British troops and more than 3,200 US service personnel have been killed. It is harder to quantify the number of Iraqi deaths, estimates range from 60,000 to more than 600,000. One thing is certain; the cost in human life of the conflict has been huge. And the killing goes on.
But given this was not a snap conflict and had been planned for months, some say years, how did things go so wrong? To find out our diplomatic editor Mark Urban spoke to some of the senior US military figures who were charged with putting Iraq back together after the invasion. You can watch his film by clicking here"
I can't opine on the film (29 mins) I am having problems streaming a lot of stuff at the moment, but given that it is "Newsnight" it should be the business.
Of course he also said we invaded Iraq because they harbored terrorists that perpetrated 9/11. When that proved false he said we invaded Iraq because they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. And then when that was no longer operative he said we invaded Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein and to establish democracy. But through it all he said we'd leave when the Iraqis wanted us to.
So here's an idea: Let's ask. Let's ask the Iraqis whether they want us there. Let the Iraqi people vote on it. It's their country, they didn't have anything to do with 9/11, they didn't have Weapons of Mass Destruction, they no longer have Saddam Hussein. What they do have is a constitution, and they do have elections.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:41 AM Permalink
I don't normally recommend books and things, but I have to seriously say, start reading the DMZ graphic novel series and start reading them now. DMZ stands for De-Militarized Zone and it's about how the militia out west, as a response to the US government's constant war and taxation, started a free army that eventually made its way to New Jersey and the United States of America and the Free Army were at a standoff over Manhattan. NYC then is a DMZ; it's neither part of the Free Army or the US. It's a free, violent, anarchistic place. VERY cool.
I never thought I'd get into a friggin' comic book (Oh, sorry, they call them "graphic novels" so the grownups who read them don't feel like childish idiots.)
I just finished Volume 2 and now I have to wait until August for the 3rd installment.
Excerpt: Russia is pulling out its technicians and engineers from Bushehr, U.S. and European government representatives said Tuesday, leaving Iran's first nuclear reactor just short of completion at a time of growing international pressure on Tehran to curb its atomic ambitions.
Question is, are they pulling out because of problems with Iran, or do they know the reactor is about to be bombed to smithereens.
It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials. And I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available. I proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse, and I hope they don’t choose confrontation.
So here's the deal that Bush proposed:
Such interviews would be private and conducted without the need for an oath, transcript, subsequent testimony, or the subsequent issuance of subpoenas. A representative of the Office of the Counsel to the President would attend these interviews and personal counsel to the invited officials may be present at their election.
Quick recap: bush says he "proposed a reasonable way", his reasonable way was to have our lawyer (yes, the WH attorney supposedly works for us, that whole 'we the people' thing), write to Congress that Bush's minions won't be under oath, won't have a record of what they say, and can't be questioned by anyone Bush doesn't approve of, in secret, with the WH's lawyers present and with their own lawyer present.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:43 PM Permalink I just love aphorisms, maxims, truisms, or whatever else they may be termed. It's often times the case that an aphorism, being universally recognized as true, describes current events better than any other source.
The Oxford Book of Aphorisms is among the very best collections of aphorisms and, though it is out-of-print, copies are relatively easy to find. From this tome:
An attitude of permanent indignation signifies great mental poverty. Politics compels its votaries to take that line and you can see their minds growing more and more impoverished every day, from one burst of righteous anger to the next.
Valery, Tel Quel, 1941-3
Stop and remember all the times a self-righteous president bush has chided the American people and in a hostile manner told the public so many lies.
It is clear that, "An attitude of permanent indignation signifies great mental poverty.…" is an apt description of bush, and his moral poverty has been on public display since assuming office.
I don't think it would be possible to write truer words, at least insofar as bush is concerned, so I shall refrain from even attempting to do so.
The accused suspect lay on a board tipped so that his head was lower than his feet. The guards had stretched him out full length and bound him tightly. A metal device held the jaws open. His nostrils were stopped, allowing breathing only through his mouth. He struggled, but his bounds permitted little movement, and days of relentless questioning had left him exhausted. The guard draped a piece of linen loosely over the suspects open mouth. Jugs of water lined a nearby wall.
A doctor observed the suspects reactions and assessed his general condition. The army’s field manual required the presence of a physician to monitor the health of the accused. The purpose of interrogation would be nullified if the accused were physically unable to hear and understand the proceedings. A confession, if it came, had to be coherent.
A man in plain clothes, probably CIA sat at a table, poised to record and write down the particulars of the session.
When the Arabic speaking investigator asked the suspect about his Al Quieda involvement in the alleged plot and received only strenuous denials he looked to the doctor who gave him a nod of assent. The Investigator then pointed to the jugs of water and told the sergeant to be ready. The sergeant lifted one of the sloshing jugs; each contained one litre of water. The suspect's eyes widened in panic, he knew what was coming, and tried to scream.
Water is poured into the accused's open mouth. The linen cloth is washed into the opening of the throat, preventing the accused from spitting the water back out. The overwhelming sensation of drowning forced the accused to swallow the water. The rules of method as written in the army manual stipulated that no more than eight litres of water could be used in a single sessionThe sergeant held the jug in his arms, ready to follow the investigator’s orders. The suspect cried and struggled for breath, anticipating the worst.
The CIA man stepped forward and spoke. "We shall begin."
It all sounds quite horrific and you might be more horrified when you go here and read the original account of when and where it came from and realise just how few words I have had to change in order to bring you the Gonzales/Bush edition.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:59 AM Permalink
Yesterday's press conference seemed to be a study in petulance. Apparently, he wants Congress to accept false and unsworn testimony behind closed doors over sworn testimony in front of the cameras. On top of that, the big document dump had a big Watergate-like gap (complete with a break-in at a democratic party headquarters no less). It almost seems as if bush thinks he's some sort of a cowboy and he's itching for a showdown at the constitutional corral.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:41 PM Permalink One of the most disturbing things done by a very disturbing maladministration is the reduction of the finest military the world has ever seen into a tissue-thin paper tiger, "A mere shadow of [its] former greatness…" to quote Howard Cosell. (RIP, Howard)
Despite the best efforts of the Department of Defense and despite the fact that the $630 billion dollar budget allocation for the DoD is the largest in history, overuse for all the wrong reasons has depleted our forces to the point that, aside from the brigades in Iraq, there is not but one brigade throughout the world ready for combat. That unit is permanently stationed in South Korea.
How pitiful is that? And what does it say about our leaders? How could this be? The answer to all these questions, of course, is Iraq, where bush's imperial desires to obtain control of Iraqi oil fields has blinded an already willfully blind maladministration to the damage they have wrought.
There is yet again another article regarding military readiness in the New York Times, where their reporter, David S. Cloud, offers these observations:
For decades, the Army has kept a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on round-the-clock alert, poised to respond to a crisis anywhere in 18 to 72 hours.…Today, the so-called ready brigade is no longer so ready. Its soldiers are not fully trained, much of its equipment is elsewhere, and for the past two weeks the unit has been far from the cargo aircraft it would need in an emergency.…Instead of waiting on standby, the First Brigade of the 82nd Airborne is deep in the swampy backwoods of this vast Army training installation, preparing to go to Iraq.…Since President Bush ordered reinforcements to Iraq and Afghanistan in January, roughly half of the Army’s 43 active-duty combat brigades are now deployed overseas, Army officials said.…If ground forces were needed urgently, Army commanders said they could draw units quickly from Iraq and send them wherever they might be needed, rather than relying solely on the ready brigade to provide a fast reaction force.
The full article is rich in detail and greatly expands on the difficulties facing the military, but it is obvious that this illegal war in Iraq has come at a high cost indeed: the reduction of the world's greatest and most expensive military force into a tissue-thin paper tiger force that cannot even roar, only mewl quietly and hope no one notices how weak bush/cheney have made us.
Heckuva job, bush, to do something no enemy has ever been able to do, breaking the back of the U.S. military.
The Bush administration on Wednesday rejected key recommendations from a citizens' group asked by Congress to find out people's health care wishes.
Suggestions included guaranteeing health coverage for specific checkups and treatments and protecting consumers from high medical expenses. The group released its report Sept. 29 after hearing from about 6,500 people at 84 meetings. [...] The group "chose an approach based on mandates and government intervention rather than an approach emphasizing consumer choice and options," Leavitt said.
So the people have spoken ... and Bush plainly won't listen, as usual. And the 'consumer choice and options' BS the misAdministration has previously pushed has resulted in record drug company profits and reduced coverage for the folks who need it the most.
Besides, if Bushco doesn't care about the wounded soldiers that his war of choice has rendered, why would they care about the rest of us!?
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:50 PM Permalink Well, the chicken(hawks) have come home to roost and provided proof positive that the terrorists are smarter than our American Leaders.
Khaild Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), after four years of relentless torture has confessed to practically every terrorist attack or plot for the last thirty years. The consequences of this sheer stupidity will be felt immediately, as every person previously convicted for any of the acts of terror to which KSM has confessed will appeal their conviction, citing KSM's confessions as proof of their non-involvement. There will be convictions overturned around the world and those suspected terrorists released based upon the confessions obtained by Americans, used as evidence against KSM, and now a matter of un-retractible public record.
An appeal has already been filed for three of the four men in Pakistan found guilty of killing Daniel Pearl. KSM has admitted he personally beheaded Pearl, the three men had been found guilty on the skimpiest of evidence, and now a confession from the "admitted" killer may well result in the release of these three men.
What will American authorities say? Uh…you…uh…you can't use that confession as it was…uh… obtained through the use of torture? No, no, it is a matter of record that KSM confessed and any court which chooses may treat that as valid evidence that those prosecuted for a crime could not possibly be guilty and must be set free.
Talk of being hoisted on your own petard! I strongly suspect that every important, real terrorist, would be trained to do exactly what has been done: Hold out while being tortured long enough to make what you say seem legitimately obtained as a result of the torture, and then confess to every single terrorist attack they can think of in order to corrupt any/all prosecutions possible, to provide alibis for those in custody and not yet tried, and to give those already convicted a basis for appealing their convictions.
And it is happening as you read this. See this article from CBS News:
A defense lawyer appealed Wednesday to a Pakistani court on behalf of three of the four Islamic militants convicted of the kidnap-slaying of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl.…The journalist was killed by British-born Islamic militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three others. Saeed was sentenced to death by hanging and the three other men received life prison terms.…Calling the prosecution's case "false and baseless," attorney Rai Bashir asked the Sindh High Court to overturn the conviction handed down Monday against Salman Saqib, Fahad Naseem and Shaikh Adil. They received life sentences, which in Pakistan means 25 years in prison.…There is not even a single piece of evidence against the appellants to prove the offenses in which they have been convicted, hence the judgment should be set aside," Bashir said.
It can already be difficult enough to obtain convictions in a terrorism case, but the fouling of the water by the confessions of American held suspects will make it more difficult still, and opens the door for appeals by any suspect previously convicted.
This is precisely why – aside the total amorality and the immorality of the act – that torture is a lousy tool for obtaining information. People under torture will confess to anything the interrogator wants regardless of whatever the real facts might be.
So it is once again clear that the "terrorists" are much smarter than our leaders and have found an easy way to call into question every terrorism conviction obtained for the last 25-30 years.
Way to go, bush, corrupt the country with your lies, destroy our integrity with torture, make America the third worst country in the world on human rights and the number one threat to world peace, and for what? To create more terrorists, increase terror attacks world-wide, and now introduce confessions obtained by torture that may result in more terrorists being released from custody.
We lost this GWOT the minute we sacrificed our values and terrorist organizations know it, will take advantage of it, and will tie courts in knots with possibly untrue confessions admitted under American law.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:36 PM Permalink Some stories just don't call for very much, if any, analysis to completely discount, especially when the subject matter involves terrorists and phony 'terror" alerts from the bush maladministration designed specifically to stoke the fears of the American public.
The latest warning to ooze out of the primordial swamp called the GWOT, from the FBI, apparently now employed to put out propaganda in support of bush, is this warning found in Yahoo News. The first two sentences negate any need to read the rest of the article:
Suspected members of extremist groups have signed up as school bus drivers in the United States, counterterror officials said Friday, in a cautionary bulletin to police. An FBI spokesman said,"Parents and children have nothing to fear."
Now why in the world would the FBI report suspected terrorists becoming schoolbus drivers and then in the very next sentence state categorically that, ""Parents and children have nothing to fear."?
For what purpose is such a report made? Just to frighten parents and school children? Without cause? Why?
How and why have we Americans turned into a group of people so scared of their own shadows that a report like this is even considered for publication?
I have said this before, but it bears repeating: All the cowards out there afraid of everything and waiting for the bush/cheney maladministration to save you and the world while you cower under the bed, I have it from reliable sources that the collecting, sorting by size, shape, and color and actually naming all those dust bunnies found there can be an absolutely fascinating hobby.
Excerpt: Chiquita Brands International, famous for its bananas, has agreed to pay $25 million in fines for employing paramilitary groups to protect its farms in Colombia, according to a CNN report.
Uh, I bet they weren't just 'protecting their farms.' Chaquita has a long, tawdry history.
Excerpt: Throughout its history, Chiquita's operations have contributed to the destablization of at least one Central American country, and compounded the problems of poverty and deteriorating health among banana plantation workers. Chiquita's predecessor, United Fruit Company, used its political might to convince the U.S. to topple the popularly elected government of Guatemala in the 1950s.
posted by The Vidiot @ 11:07 AM Permalink
As the whole US Attorney thing continues to swirl and bubble, Greg Palast has unearthed some interesting stuff on Ms. Miers.
Excerpt: But this is not the first time that Miers has fired investigators to protect Mr. Bush.
In 1999, while investigating Governor George Bush of Texas for the Guardian papers of Britain, I obtained an extraordinary, and extraordinarily confidential, memo to the US Attorney’s office in Austin. It disclosed that, in 1997, Governor Bush secretly suggested to the chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission that she grant a contract to the client of a Bush ally.
Read the whole thing. It's fascinating how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Excerpt: A new wave of anti-feminism is taking hold of Germany. Former career women-turned-housewives are spreading the word about a "new femininity" which encourages women to stay at home and embrace motherhood.
You go girl!
And I'll tell you why.
I've never been a huge fan of feminism as it's been promoted over the years. I remember when I was a kid, and there was this whole ERA (equal rights amendment) argument going on and my mom, while not being a bra burner, was quite vehemently for it all. She worked in a man's world (music) and she was sick and tired of not being treated like the men when it came to jobs and chances. And rightly so. She was (and is) good. Damn good actually. But she was a woman with kids and well, she just didn't get the kudos she should have over the years. At least ERA brought the concept of treating women equally into the discussion.
What I didn't 'get' was why we needed ERA to begin with? Why should women's rights be any different than human rights? Why do we need the government to sanction what we, as people, should have, ipso facto? I remember a big talking point was that the ERA would make it so women could be drafted into the army, I remember thinking "Well, yeah. That would suck. But of course women should be drafted into the army." I didn't understand why we weren't to begin with.
But back to the German woman. What she's saying is right I think. I personally, can't stand feminists. They think they're liberated when they work 50-hour weeks, put their kids into daycare and have someone clean their house for them. Liberated for what? To work more so they can make more and then spend more? Where's the life in all that? And many of them walk around feeling so empty and unfulfilled. And the ones who try to have it all? Kids and Career? They're exhausted. What part of their life can they actually enjoy?
Here's how I see it. Years ago, the powers that be realized that 50% of the population wasn't working. And by not working, they weren't really a part of the capitalist system, were they? They weren't productive by monetary standards. They didn't pull in an income to spend. What income they did have access to was for two people. Now, you're a banker who wants to increase gross national product, you want those ladies in the workforce, making money and spending it. And in addition, according to some, since these working women are no longer able to raise their children, that job is then left to the State. The State then has an even more time, and can start at an even younger, more impressionable age, to indoctrinate the children into the ways of the State. To bankers and the powers that be, it's all good. (In fact, it's no secret that the CIA provided some of the seed money for Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine, which was practically the 'bible' of the feminist movement.)
Are women more free now? No. In fact, I'd say they're even more enslaved. And not only are they enslaved, but they're enslaved by a system they did not create. It's no wonder so few women break through the glass ceiling. How can they? They're playing by a man's rules in a man-made system. Sure, some women accomplish it, but they had to suppress a lot of what made them feminine to do it.
I don't want to write all sorts of personal stuff explaining how I've "stepped outside the system" but suffice it to say that for the most part, I have. And I did it naturally without being aware of why I wanted to do that in the first place. I just did it. Women have to stop playing the man's game. It's their game. Let them make themselves miserable. Women must beign to focus on what it means to be a woman and not define that by what men tell us it should be. It must come from within ourselves, not from without.
Step outside the system. It's really nice out here.
In a bipartisan confrontation with the White House over executive branch secrecy, the House ignored a stern veto threat and overwhelmingly passed a package of open-government bills yesterday that would roll back administration efforts to shield its workings from public view. [...] The White House issued tough statements on all three bills, saying, for example, that the presidential records act was "misguided, and would improperly impinge on the President's constitutional authority, in violation of settled separation of powers principles."
What the WH conveeeniently forgets to mention is that Bush used an 'executive order' to undermine and overturn a law. Let's continue:
The last bill to pass late yesterday was the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which would for the first time extend whistle-blower protection to government scientists.
And why would government scientists need such protection? Gee, I dunno, maybe because of this, this, this and this ... just for starters.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:48 PM Permalink I think this proves beyond all doubt that America has lost any sense of what we once stood for, we can no longer be trusted to know right from wrong, and America can rightfully be labeled a country of monsters with no moral grounding whatever. Completely both amoral and immoral.
American agents under order of president bush, one of the most despicable world leaders since Pol Pot and Idi Amin Dada and a scandalous coward, in my opinion, KIDNAPS THE CHILDREN OF SUSPECTED TERRORISTS TO AID IN TORTURING INFORMATION FROM THE ALLEGED TERRORIST. And though those agents and bush may claim that they don't actually torture the children themselves, I believe nothing would stop them from torturing a suspect's child in their bloodlust to obtain information.
There can be no justification for this. It is sick, twisted, perverse, ugly, dehumanizing, and a whole lot of other words I could apply to describe the abomination of taking and holding innocent children in confinement for use as an instrument of torture against alleged terrorists. I can imagine the sickening pictures of children in the custody of America and the prisoner, who may or may not be a terrorist, being shown the pictures with direct threats that their children will themselves be tortured if the suspect fails to confess.
We are no longer a nation of laws; we are not a nation of men; we have become the nation of yellow-bellied, cowardly, cruel and inhuman MONSTERS, takers and torturers of children. And don't even try to allege that snatching a child from their homes and taking them thousands of miles away from everything they have ever known for the purpose of torturing information from a parent is not itself, torture.
Jeralyn Merritt at Talkleft provides more detail on the 9 and 7 year-old children and how they were used as an instrument of torture by the CIA. One of the interrogators stated:
"His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."
Not in my wildest dreams could I ever envision myself being so embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed to be an American.
The world watches. The world knows. Americans: Monsters. Can we sink any lower?
Excerpt: Covering 10 miles above the South Pole is a sprawling patch of stratosphere with disturbingly low levels of radiation-absorbing ozone. The size of the hole (pictured in dark blue) wanes and waxes due to seasonal changes in temperature and shifting levels of ozone-depleting pollutants. In early October 2006, the Antarctic stratosphere was the coldest it has been since 1979, and the ozone hole loomed bigger than ever, spanning an area larger than North America. What's going on?
The Montreal Protocol was set up to deal with the emissions of chemicals that caused the hole to begin with. While it was effective in getting countries to agree to decrease the amount of CFCs they emit into the atmosphere, industry and corporations would only agree to it AFTER they had come up with a suitable substitute that they could sell/use instead. And it's not been entirely proven that the new stuff is any better than the old stuff.
The problem with these international regimes is that, though their goals are laudable, they are usually hugely ineffective. You basically get a bunch of different representatives in there with competing interests, add corporations into that mix and what you get is a protocol that is so watered down that it's nearly useless. The whole thing has to appeal to the lowest common denominator... and well, we've seen what happens when that method is applied to our entertainment media (read: American Idol)
Some of the environmental regimes have been mildly effective at altering behavior. But improving the problem they were created to address? Not so much. Look at the Kyoto protocol. Even if everyone signed on AND agreed to ALL of it, it wouldn't reduce CO2 emissions for years and by they time THAT happened, it will probably be too late anyway. Anyone who's ever looked into it agrees: It's all window dressing.
I don't know what the solution is. I certainly don't advocate NOT participating in these things. Just on a social responsibility level, it's important. BUT, the real problem with all of these regimes and their protocols is this: the bottom line is always money, profit, and economy. As long as those things are major component of any discussion about anything, whether it be about Carbon emissions, or CFC emissions, or even cluster bombs and nuclear warheads, as long as the bottom line is about money, the real reason these regimes are created in the first place -- to protect the earth and its peoples -- will never be addressed or resolved.
posted by The Vidiot @ 8:00 AM Permalink
I don't get it. Well, I DO get it, but I don't get it, get it? Here we are, in the 21st Century, and C02 emmissions are are at their highest point ever. Now, whether or not you believe in global warming as a man-made problem or not, nobody can argue that the CO2 levels are out of control. Nobody can argue that humans are living out of sync with nature and are polluting their environs. One of the ways we can at least attempt to cut down on our ecological footprint is to change the way we acquire and use energy. And what does our genius commander in chief do?
Excerpt: The Bush administration wants to eliminate federal support for geothermal power just as many U.S. states are looking to cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise renewable power output.
posted by oscar wilde @ 7:23 AM Permalink And it is, from start to finish, The Dog's Bollocks. What an amazing, wonderful, fantastic series that has ever had the fortune to grace the television screen, the dog's bollocks indeed.
There is very little on television that I could view twice, (as last night) but this series, not a problem, not at all at all at all, simply the best. The best in educational value, the best in entertainment and the best example of jiggery pokery that I have ever witnessed.
Jiggery pokery so good in fact that these buggers were alive and a viewer had no problem being transported back to a time all those millions of years ago when these rascals, both large and small roamed the earth.
That I say no problem being transported back is in fact wrong, never a title has more fittingly been ascribed, "Walking with dinosaurs" because surely that is what you were doing as you witnessed the trials and tribulations of these awe inspiring creatures.
It is rarely I can feel the slightest bit of compassion or sympathy for the fundamentalists or the creationists, but watching this production makes me want to reach out to them and say, give it up, come and join us, this is what you are missing. Put away all your nonsense and all your ignorance, come and fall into the arms of evolution, embrace each other in something that transcends any feeling that you might have previously felt, come and experience truth and the true wonder, the wonder of evolution. It will blow your mind.
At this point you could be forgiven if you accused me of being a salesman for the BBC, for this production, I could be, would be, and for free, that's how good it is. So if you live in some remote part of the world or some part that there is little likelihood of ever having the opportunity to have this wonderful experience, follow the link to the BBC shop,* part with your twenty quid, about forty bucks American, and when it drops through the letter box, throw it into the machine, sit back, and go "Walking With Dinosaurs."
1.(sometimes capital letters 'V' and 'S' with no space) a style of writing or saying something using emotion and/or logic and snark, esp. in order to elucidate the obvious while pretending to be objective.
2. anything written by The Vidiot, The Sailor, Mr. Vidiot and anyone else they allow to post on the blog “vidiotspeak”
[Origin: loosely based on new + speak, coined by George Orwell in his novel, 1984 (1949)]
And for godsakes, stay away from FOX, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC.
It's ALL CRAP!!!
Watch the BBC news or ITN news instead.
"POSSE COMITATUS ACT" (18 USC 1385)
A Reconstruction Era criminal law proscribing use of Army (later, Air Force) to "execute the laws" except where expressly authorized by Constitution or Congress. Limit on use of military for civilian law enforcement also applies to Navy by regulation. Dec '81 additional laws were enacted (codified 10 USC 371-78) clarifying permissible military assistance to civilian law enforcement agencies--including the Coast Guard--especially in combating drug smuggling into the United States. Posse Comitatus clarifications emphasize supportive and technical assistance (e.g., use of facilities, vessels, aircraft, intelligence, tech aid, surveillance, etc.) while generally prohibiting direct participation of DoD personnel in law enforcement (e.g., search, seizure, and arrests). For example, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) serve aboard Navy vessels and perform the actual boardings of interdicted suspect drug smuggling vessels and, if needed, arrest their crews). Positive results have been realized especially from Navy ship/aircraft involvement.