Thursday, May 31, 2007

I have my doubts

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:42 AM Permalink

As usual.

The XDR TB guy, the one the CDC is freaking out about...
Excerpt: A man infected with a potentially deadly form of tuberculosis is being held in isolation and under armed guard at a US hospital after a transcontinental saga that prompted a global health alert
....has me wondering.

For one thing, the reason the man was on a plane to begin with is he wanted to get married. Someone who has XDR TB does NOT have that much hope for the future. Second, no matter how infectious TB is, you still need to have close, long-term exposure to the person to contract it. Third, he may have only tested positive for exposure to the disease. Lots of people test positive for exposure to TB and don't have TB. They may develop it later on, but until it starts to grow in their lungs, they can't pass it on.

So here's what I think. Since the CDC hasn't done this in around 40 years, it's obviously a big deal. And as far as I can think, and granted, it's not that far, there are only two reasons for this whole hullabaloo.
  1. Either the guy has something else MUCH worse and MUCH more experimental (read: not something our government wants anyone to know we're working on) and they need to contain him and fast. Or,
  2. The whole thing is being orchestrated to create more fear and trepidation, make us all feel more comfortable with the concept of "voluntary quarantine" and police-state tactics.
Well, that's just my two cents... which is worth about .625 cents in today's 2007 USD.

Update: As stated in the comment below, "things that make you go hmmmmm."
Excerpt: * How did Andrew Speaker become infected with this very rare form of XDR TB?

* Why did the border agent disregard orders and simply allow Mr. Speaker and his wife, Sarah to proceed back into the US?

* Why did Mr. Speaker bother to fly home via Canada, if he had intended to turn himself in as he stated. If he had landed at JFK or in Atlanta, the CDC would have met him and taken him directly to the hospital. Why go to, yet, another country?

* Mr. Speaker is purported to be a successful lawyer. Didn't he realize that he can be held liable and sued if any of the people he put at risk test positive for TB?

* How much did Dr. Cooksey know about Mr. Speaker's plans and when did he know them? As father of the bride, I would think Dr. Cooksey played a large part in the wedding preparations for his daughter. He knew that Speaker was TB-infected, MDR TB at that. His expertise with TB should have compelled him to convince his daughter and Mr. Speaker to postpone the wedding.

* Was Dr. Cooksey part of the wedding? Was he in the US during the time that Speaker went abroad?

* Was Mr. Speaker given special privileges by the CDC because he is related to Dr. Cooksey at the CDC?

* Was Mr. Speaker's oddesy planned by Dr. Cooksey as some sort of epidemiological test? Was he allowed to travel as a means of helping the CDC to get more quarantine laws into effect or to enable the US government to access foreign air carrier lists? Was this part of some pandemic simulation?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss ... or ... Another Wolfie at the Door

posted by The Sailor @ 11:36 PM Permalink

Bush nominates tough diplomat for World Bank

Former deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick, tapped by US President George W Bush to head the World Bank, has a reputation as a hard-nosed defender of US economic and strategic interests.
[...]
In 1998, he signed a letter that urged then-president Bill Clinton to oust Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq by military force if necessary, and rejected 'a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.'

The other 17 signers included 'neoconservatives' who rose to prominence after Bush won office - Wolfowitz, former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and current UN Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

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Meat The Enemy

posted by The Sailor @ 11:16 PM Permalink

US on mad cow: Don't test all cattle

The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.
Whaaat! Geebus, even folks who've had Econ 101 know about the economies of scale so if a small company can afford this test it will be even cheaper for a large company.

And the fact that Bushco is refusing to let someone voluntarily incur extra expense to test for a deadly disease is ... well, I was about to write unthinkable, but what may be unthinkable to you or me is just a day at the office for Bush. Geebus, how Orwellian can you get! War is Peace; Diplomacy is Weakness ... OK, the analogy breaks down here at '4 legs good, 2 legs bad.' That one I'm starting to see;-)

But wait! There's morons!
The Agriculture Department regulates the test and argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it.

The ruling was to take effect June 1, but the Agriculture Department said Tuesday it would appeal - effectively delaying the testing until the court challenge plays out.
Get that? They waited until the last minute to file an appeal to make sure that our food supply stays at risk for as long as possible.

Bush et al have tainted or destroyed everything they've ever touched; our legal system, our food, our air, our children, our economy, our shining beacon of hope and freedom ... someone, please stop them before they kill again.

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War, everlasting

posted by The Sailor @ 9:56 PM Permalink

Bush envisions U.S. presence in Iraq like S.Korea

President George W. Bush would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea to provide stability but not in a frontline combat role, the White House said on Wednesday.

The United States has had thousands of U.S. troops in South Korea to guard against a North Korean invasion for 50 years.
I ... ... ... words fail me.

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Plenty of times

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:39 AM Permalink

I've said that using corn ethanol as a fuel source is a bad idea because it causes energy to to directly compete with food. Well, there's a whole 'nuther level I hadn't considered.
Excerpt: Mexican farmers are setting ablaze fields of blue agave, the cactus-like plant used to make the fiery spirit tequila, and resowing the land with corn as soaring U.S. ethanol demand pushes up prices.
Now THAT'S depressing.

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Ummmmm,

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:57 AM Permalink

Excerpt
: Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One. You might not want to do it, but removing half of your brain will not significantly impact who you are


Well, I beg to differ....

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Waste of time

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:45 AM Permalink

Don't waste your time protesting this.
Excerpt: A museum that tells the Bible's version of Earth's history — that the planet was created in a single week just a few thousand years ago — attracted thousands to its opening as protesters rallied outside.
Protest the fact that Cheney isn't in jail.
Excerpt: Furthermore, Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin noted that Fitzgerald's court filing further points to Vice President Cheney's involvement in the outing of Plame.
Now that's worthwhile.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Iraq HeadLyings!

posted by The Sailor @ 6:45 PM Permalink

None of these things are like the others:
White House Is Said to Debate ’08 Cut in Iraq Combat Forces by 50%

The Bush administration is developing what are described as concepts for reducing American combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, according to senior administration officials in the midst of the internal debate.
[...]
Still, there is no indication that Mr. Bush is preparing to call an early end to the current troop increase, and one reason officials are talking about their long-range strategy may be to blunt pressure from members of Congress, including some Republicans, who are pushing for a more rapid troop reduction.
Oh, I get it, they're just doing it, even tho they know there is no chance of it happening under Bush, because it might help them win the next election.

And then reality dick slaps them in the face (uhh, you knew I meant Cheney, right?):
Bush Could Double Force by Christmas

The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.
[...]
The actions could boost the number of combat soldiers from 52,500 in early January to as many as 98,000 by the end of this year if the Pentagon overlaps arriving and departing combat brigades.

Separately, when additional support troops are included in this second troop increase, the total number of U.S. troops in Iraq could increase from 162,000 now to more than 200,000 — a record-high number — by the end of the year.
And then of course there's this:
Iraq likely to miss goals set by U.S.

U.S. military leaders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that most of the broad political goals President Bush laid out early this year in his announcement of a troop buildup will not be met this summer and are seeking ways to redefine success.
Get that last bit? Apparently Bush will declare Victory! by changing the definition of winning. Jeebus, George Aiken did that comedic bit about Vietnam over 30 years ago:"the US should declare victory and bring the troops home."

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Another installment of Dave

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:33 PM Permalink





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Sunday, May 27, 2007

In Memoriam

posted by The Sailor @ 12:37 PM Permalink


Note: this is a repeat of last year's post. I'm not just being lazy, I found that I couldn't say it any better.

It's Memorial Day and the unnecessary deaths from friendly fire, bad political decisions, poor equipment ... have nothing to do with the soldiers who died. Those conditions have been inherent in war since war began. And especially so in the wars that started with lies. Just in my lifetime: 'Gulf Of Tonkin Incident'; 'Grenada Was Taken Over By Communists'; 'Iraq Has WMDs and We Know Where They Are' were all lies.

But the people who died because of these lies did not die for these lies. They died for their fellows, they died for their country, they died for us.

This is why we should remember them every day, not just between brats (edible and sired) on this day, but because regardless of the lies, the coverups, the sheer incompetence that put them in harm's way to begin with, they were doing it for us.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Criticize Those Trying-Not Those That Did It… Right

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:53 AM Permalink


Scene: there is a gaping, smoking hole in the ground, a thousand feet deep and a thousand feet in diameter. It obviously poses a danger to everyone passing nearby. It obviously was not dug in a day, either, but over many years. A person passing by observes 50 people shoveling furiously, trying to fill in the hole. Down inside the gaping pit there are 49 people furiously shoveling dirt out. The press praises those digging deeper while denigrating and disparaging the efforts of the 50 to fill in the hole. They at the same time complain that the hole has not yet been filled, despite the fact that 50 people have been working at it constantly for five months, completely ignoring the fact that the 49 continue to keep digging the hole deeper, bigger, and wider than ever before.

Passer-by: What are you guys doing?
1 of 50: We're trying to fill in this hole that is damaging America.

Passer-by: How the hell are you going to that when those other 49 guys are still digging it deeper, and they are using government supplied bulldozers! And even with bulldozers it took 'em over 6 years to dig America into a hole that deep and wide, and here you are with just shovels to fill it in. Why haven't you gotten this done and dug us out of this hole?
1 of 50: Well, we are forced to work with shovels because we can't get a bill past the 49 people working against us and we've only had five months of a very slim majority, so what? You expect us to have done this job even though they have only one less person than us, but with the advantage of the filibuster bulldozers and a boss that they support no matter how bad he screws things up? And a boss that keeps giving them more and more bulldozers to dig us deeper into the hole?

Passer-by: Well, I can certainly see the problem, has anyone complained and pointed out the disparity here and worked to form a consensus that this hole must be filled?
1 of 50: Oh, sure, but because we can't get this hole filled while those other guys continue to dig us deeper using parliamentary tricks, obfuscation, out-right lies, and every devious trick they have learned, those other guys have convinced the public that we are not up to the job.

Passer-by: But aren't the people smart enough to see that your best efforts are for naught BECAUSE of the obstructionist tactics of those other guys?
1 of 50: Are you kidding? The propaganda has been so intense, for so long, that those other guys have convinced the public that we don't know what we're doing so thoroughly that even people on our side, some of those here with me trying to fill this hole in, no longer have faith in us.

Passer-by: W-h-a-a-a-t? You fifty have only shovels and have had only five months to fill that gaping hole while others keep digging it deeper and deeper with heavy equipment and you 50 are blamed and not the ones who dug us into this hole?
1 of 50: Yep. That's the way it's going down. Because we can't fill a hole in a few short months after the other guys have dug it over many years and continue to dig it deeper and deeper, the talking-heads and pundits are criticizing us heavily. They say it's our fault that we couldn't instantly cure the problem and get this hole filled in.

Passer-by: Well, that sounds utterly illogical, nonsensical, unfair, biased, and it makes it seem like you 50 are doing nothing while you are obviously trying to fix a problem not of your making and one that has had many years to fester and grow and become infected with corrupt, crony partisanship and incompetence on the part of those other guys, doesn't it?
1 of 50: Yep.

Passer-by: Aw, c'mon, who would be so short-sighted and dumb enough to blame this on you when it's plain the other guys are using every dirty trick in the books to make you look bad and keep you from filling in this gaping pit?
1 of 50: Almost every talking head and pundit on television or in the press.

Passer-by: Why would they do that?
1 of 50: Some are instructed to, some fall prey to the other guy's propaganda.

Passer-by: How could they be so stupid?
1 of 50: They don't know how to use a shovel.

Cross-posted from Edging.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

This image

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:09 PM Permalink

Pretty much sums up all that is wrong with a lot of Americans and why so many outside the US think we're a greedy bunch of self-centered morons.

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I know he's a republican and all...

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:03 PM Permalink

But I seem to like about 80% of what comes out of Ron Paul's mouth. Here's a recent speech of his on google. Some excerpts from this speech:
"It is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty"

"Faith in government coercion and a lack of understanding of how free societies operate encourages big government liberals and big government conservatives to manufacture a war psychology to demand political loyalty for domestic policy, just as is required in foreign affairs."
Well, I have been falling into the libertarian range of the spectrum of late.

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The worthless Dems

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:06 AM Permalink

The vote on the bill that threw money at bush's war with no strings attached is not unexpected. The reasons being batted about are the usual however.
Excerpt: Why did the Democrats capitulate?

Because they lack the courage of their convictions. Because they fear the consequences if they put their antiwar beliefs into practice. Because they are afraid if they defund the war and force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops, the calamity he predicts will come to pass and they will be held accountable for losing Iraq and the strategic disaster that might well ensue.
Yes. According to Pat Buchanan, it's happened because the democrats are cowards. Which is wrong, of course.

The democrats aren't cowards. In fact, I could ably argue that they are completely the opposite. Do you know how brave they must be to KNOWINGLY go against public sentiment? To go against the perceived mandate of the the 2006 election? To risk their incumbency because this vote will certainly cause them to lose their jobs? I'd say that was pretty brave.

See? I told you I could argue it. Doesn't make it the right answer though.

The right answer is the following:

The democrats and the republicans are one in the same. They are both products of the corptocracy. They are both extensions of the military machine. The imagined differences between the two parties are only superficial and cosmetic. Not until we get rid of the whole system--the money, the lobbyist, the power of politics--only then will be able to have a system that works. Kos is wrong here. He says
Excerpt: I have news for you guys -- this won't be the last disappointment we'll ever suffer. Heck, politics is about perpetually fighting battles, and no one -- no one -- has an undefeated record.
Endlessly fighting battles. Yeah. That's the solution.

The system needs to be destroyed. The sooner we except that fact, the sooner we'll have what we need.

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New highs on the index of mendacity.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:00 AM Permalink

Juan Cole nails Doug Feith
Excerpt: Feith had been investigated by the FBI earlier in his career as a possible Israeli intelligence asset and was raised in a fringe, far-rightwing Zionist family. His father was a member of Betar, the organization devoted to teachings of fascist Zionist thinker Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky and to "Greater Israel" expansionism. Persons in this tradition often believe that Israel extends into Iraq itself.

Now it turns out that Feith just made up the Vlemmo firm. According to the Netherlands Foreign Minister, it does not exist.
Just like virtually none of the things Feith peddled to us has has any reality. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz put Feith in a position to lie our troops into harm's way, as the number three man in the Pentagon. Feith bears responsibility for his lies and fabrications. His superiors are even more culpable.
I've been saying forever that Feith had a big, guilty hand in the lies that built up the Iraq war. So now, he's been caught just making shit up.

Will he go down for it?

Naw.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And now for some good news

posted by The Sailor @ 6:59 PM Permalink

Setback for warheads policy
House panel says it won't fund new nuclear weapons
and
Lobbyist won't run consumer agency

A manufacturing industry lobbyist withdrew his nomination to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission
My favorite quote from that story?
John Engler, the head of the manufacturers' group [...] said Baroody was the victim of an "unprincipled smear campaign" and "would have been a great CPSC chairman."
Ohhh, poor baby, of course of course it's a smear when the head of your lobby (AKA fox) shouldn't be guarding the Consumer Product Safety Commission (AKA henhouse.)

But What About the [gasp!] Children!?

posted by The Sailor @ 6:34 PM Permalink

Bush sank to a new low today in the polls ... and in his rhetoric. In his press conference he rambled thru the usual histrionics of:
Al Qaeda will be emboldened!
9/11, 9/11, 9/11!
It's better to fight them there than here!
If we leave, they'll follow us home!

But then the threat level (from Bush) increased:
"I fully recognize that after 9/11, in the calm here at home, relatively speaking, caused some to say, well, maybe we're not at war." What freakin' calm? Bush attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and is supporting terrorist groups in Iran! There hasn't been any calm!

And then he added specific threats to the reporters' children today.
"It's a danger to your children, Jim."
"They are a threat to your children, David"

Frankly, Bush is a much bigger threat to our children than al Qaeda. And not just the 3,434+ of our children he's gotten killed in Iraq pursuing a war against a country that had no WMDs, no connection to 9/11, and no ability to attack the US. The staggering debt for this debacle will affect our children long after his children and their children have avoided military service.

There's the damage to the environment caused by his political appointees censoring science that will be killing our children for generations.

And finally, the damage to America's reputation as the shining beacon of hope, of freedom, of democracy to the world will last for untold generations.

My message to Bush is:
Dear Mr president Listen up a$$hole:
Al Qaeda did not exist in Iraq until you invaded.
Al Qaeda, or actually a loosely associated offshoot of Al Qaeda, are an incredibly small minority of the folks in Iraq who want to kill Americans.
Most of the Iraqis fighting in their civil war just want to kill Americans because they are in the way of achieving their political goals.

If we leave they'll kick AQ out.

Al Qaeda isn't our problem in Iraq, Bush is!

Return of the W-h-i-i-n-e-r-s Not a Pretty Sight

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:37 AM Permalink


For many years now Democrats have found themselves wandering the wilderness, living off the meager legislative scraps thrown to them like treats to small yapping dogs by the Republican majorities. The rubber-stamping rethugs have, over those same years, spent their time quietly destroying America's freedom, appointing unqualified but loyal bushies throughout government, mismanaging an ill-begotten war, passing laws in the dead of night, changing the law proposed illegally by adding provisions AFTER both bodies have signed off on it and getting the president to sign it before anyone notices, passing 10,000 pages of legislation with only a day or less for anyone to review it and discover all the little traps, and, in general, screwing America and Americans in every way possible overtly and covertly.

They have, through those years, also made an apparently permanent underclass of political whiners calling themselves Democrats, Liberal Democrats, Progressive Democrats or whatever else they want, but my point is the same.

W-H-I-I-I-I-N-N-E-R-S. For many of the last days I have been reading articles from otherwise intelligent people who seem to think that, after the Republicans have spent all these years burying America in shame, the Democratic leadership of congress is an abject failure that has not only betrayed the people electing them, but that they have been, additionally, totally unable to single-handedly save the world in the just barely five months of rule without a veto-proof majority. and in the face of Republican promises to obfuscate and obstruct every thing the Democrats want to do.

I mean, really, just what did everyone expect? If anyone REALLY believed Democrats could save the world, end the war, bring all the troops home, lower gas prices, save the housing market, restore fiscal responsibility, end poverty, and provide health insurance for everyone in five short months with Republican obstructionism in attack mode, well, they simply set their expectations too high and unreasonably so.

Monroe Anderson, an opinion writer, wrote a rant about it. I refuted his arguments line-by-line and the owner of that site thought I was perhaps unfair and took Anderson's side, so out of respect to him I deleted a very heartfelt post. But it was nothing more a column trashing democrats relentlessly, while giving the party of Obstructionism a free pass.

Now Keith Olbermann, who certainly should know better, has climbed on the same bandwagon of savaging democrats for failing to correct debacles that were many years in the making. Very disappointing that such a national figure would fail to use the cognitive facilities he possesses in spades to urge the restraint of such harsh rhetoric and himself fail to recognize what he knows well: Nothing moves fast in Washington and it just isn't possible to get everything, or even most of what the people want done, immediately.

Well, THAT is a bandwagon upon which I will not leap, and for the primary reason why I give you with the World According to Norquist, the demi-god and chief strategist of the rethugs, who had these orders for the Republicans at the last CPAC Convention, as I noted in a prior post.:
Transcript:

NORQUIST: Nothing good happens in the next two years out of this Congress. Nothing good.…If you read in the newspaper that there’s a bill with a nice sounding name, and it sounds in the first sentence like the bill is good, you haven’t read the whole bill.…Nothing good happens. They’re not going to cut taxes.…(APPLAUSE)…Look,get married, develop a hobby, learn to belly dance, learn to golf — you know, we got two years free, but we gotta spend some time and effort playing defense here.…Because the Democrats are going to be like young men on prom dates — they’re gonna keep asking the same question of us over and over and over again. And our job is to say “no, no, no, no” for two years.…It doesn’t do us any good to go “no, no, yes” okay? It has to be “no” for two years in a row. It’s going to be tiresome, it’s going to be boring. People are gonna go, “oh maybe this bill isn’t as bad as it looks.” Don’t eat it, don’t swallow it, don’t touch it. Nothing good passes this Congress.…Plan for the future and read novels.
And while they read those novels, belly dance, and obstruct everything so nothing gets done, the Democratic Party and the talking heads who now criticize them just keep on whining: maybe you will thusly aid the rethugs in suppressing the vote so much that the rethugs can achieve majority status again.

So as Speaker Pelosi says, "…[everyone] needs to just take a deep breath and calm down." Given time, support, and another election to get us more democratic leaders, things will improve.

Unless all the talking heads continue to trash dems instead of throwing Grover Norquist's words back into the faces of the rethugs at every opportunity and show and tell about every rethug piece of obstructionism that is preventing the dems from obtaining their agenda.

Either that or whine so badly about dems that a permanent Republican majority is elected next year. Now THAT'S cutting your nose off to spite your face.

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Let's reframe that

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:50 AM Permalink

The US has positioned two aircraft carriers of the coast of Iran for "war games"
Excerpt: "The carriers and amphibious strike groups and their associated forces will conduct missions in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and will also perform Expeditionary Strike Force training," the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet said.
Let's put that into context:

What if Iran positioned a couple of carriers off the Maryland coastline and conducted "war games" or how about North Korea sending some of its fleet off the coast near San Francisco for some "training exercises." How twisted do you think some knickers would get in the event of either of those events? Pretty damn twisted if you ask me.

Update: Make that a total of nine US warships altogether.

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Uh

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:44 AM Permalink

Why hasn't anyone thought of this before?
Excerpt: If you’re having some stairs constructed why not consider this. Handy and hidden, a great storage idea for linen, winter woollies, books and papers, anything small in fact.

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If you think about it

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:26 AM Permalink

This makes perfect sense.
Excerpt: President Bush is likely to veto legislation that would create hefty fines and criminal penalties for gasoline price-gouging, the White House said Wednesday.
Well, really, you don't even have to think about it, do you.

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Loan shark.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:10 AM Permalink

Anyone who's been paying attention knows that sometime last spring, the Fed stopped reporting the M3 numbers. Meaning, they stopped telling everyone how much money they were printing because knowing how much money they're printing is a measure of the inflation rate, and well, we can't have the world knowing THAT now can we?

Well, some clever monkeys out there have managed to reconstruct the M3 from other indicators and it seems that inflation is running at about {gulp} 12%. The Fed must really hate those guys.

Anyhow, the powers that be have to place the blame on someone for the loads of dollars flying around the globe. And the patsy they've chosen? North Korea, natch! The Swiss however, are not falling for it.
Excerpt: The Swiss federal criminal police, in a report released Monday, expresses serious doubt that North Korea is capable of manufacturing the fake bills, which it said were superior to real ones.

The Swiss report includes color enlargements that show the differences between genuine bills and counterfeit supernotes. The supernotes are identical to U.S. banknotes except for added distinguishing marks, which can be detected only with a magnifying glass. In addition, under ultraviolet or infrared light, stripes appear or the serial numbers disappear on the supernotes.

The Bundeskriminalpolizei didn't hazard a guess as to who's been manufacturing the supernotes, but said experts agreed that the counterfeits weren't the work of an individual but of a government or governmental organization. [emphasis mine]
This article suggests it could be a little closer to home: the CIA
Excerpt:The American secret service, the CIA, could be responsible for manufacturing the nearly-perfect counterfeit 50 and 100-dollar-notes that Washington pins on the terror regime of North Korea. The charge comes after an extensive investigation in Europe and Asia by the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Sonntagszeitung of Frankfurt, and after interviews with counterfeit money experts and leading representatives of the high-security publishing industry.
But I don't think that's correct either. I think the answer is WAY more simple than that. I think that the Federal Reserve is just printing up scads of money, plain and simple. The economy is tanking and the only way to mask it is to pump dollars into the pump, build up the stock market to make the economy look more robust than it actually is and hope that it doesn't crash before everyone has a chance to escape to Paraguay.

These stories "North Korea did it" or "The CIA did it" are just disinformation stories. The real story is the Federal Reserve is doing it, probably at the behest of this administration, and I can only imagine the interest their charging for the service.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bush providing material support for terrorists

posted by The Sailor @ 7:14 PM Permalink

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a "nonlethal presidential finding" that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions.
[...]
The covert action plan comes as U.S. officials have confirmed Iran had dramatically increased its ability to produce nuclear weapons material, at a pace that experts said would give them the ability to build a nuclear bomb in two years.
Jeebus, not that old 'experts say' crap. What experts? No wonder they didn't name them because that last statement is just a plain lie.

Iran has 1000+ centrifuges, (actually, 8 cascading sets of centrifuges so the total is slightly misleading), and they achieve about 4% enrichment. It would take over 3000 centrifuges and an enrichment level of 84% to make bomb grade material ... and that would still take many years.

The cascades are a log, not linear, process. IOW, it takes 10 times as much processing, and technology, to achieve twice the level of enrichment. I'm not saying we shouldn't be concerned, but Iran is years away from a bomb, if they even intend to build one.

They say it's for nuclear generators, 4% fuel works for that. And guess who told them 30 years ago that they needed nuclear energy? That would be Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

And the folks behind this propaganda? Jeebus, they're like cockroaches, you just can't get rid of these bastards:
Also briefed on the CIA proposal, according to intelligence sources, were National Security Advisor Steve Hadley and Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams.

"The entire plan has been blessed by Abrams, in particular," said one intelligence source familiar with the plan. "And Hadley had to put his chop on it."

Abrams' last involvement with attempting to destabilize a foreign government led to criminal charges.

He pleaded guilty in October 1991 to two misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress about the Reagan administration's ill-fated efforts to destabilize the Nicaraguan Sandinista government in Central America, known as the Iran-Contra affair. Abrams was later pardoned by President George H. W. Bush in December 1992.


In June 2001, Abrams was named by then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to head the National Security Council's office for democracy, human rights and international operations. On Feb. 2, 2005, National Security Advisor Hadley appointed Abrams deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for global democracy strategy, one of the nation's most senior national security positions.

As earlier reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com, the United States has supported and encouraged an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, that has conducted deadly raids inside Iran from bases on the rugged Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan "tri-border region."
Read the last couple of paragraphs again. A criminal that was convicted for overthrowing a government is in charge of 'spreading democracy.' And Bush is providing material support of terrorism.

These are some high crimes in deed ... and in fact.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Um, I have a question.

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:11 PM Permalink

Just how "covert" can this damn plan be if I'm reading it via the ABC news website?
Excerpt: The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

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Heckuva Job Bushie

posted by The Sailor @ 6:29 PM Permalink

Iraq a "big moneymaker" for al-Qaida, says CIA

U.S. officials said al-Qaida's command base in Pakistan increasingly is being funded by cash from Iraq, where the terrorist network's operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity.
But wait, there's more!
U.S. Government Gave Airtime to Terrorists, Official Admits

Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.

That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, including an hour-long tirade on the importance of anti-Jewish violence, among other questionable pieces.

Blogtopiates

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:11 PM Permalink

For you Flash phreaks out there: Animator vs. Animation

And for you crafty people out there: how to make a paper clip out of paper.

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While I don't make a habit of reading Larouche

posted by The Vidiot @ 1:29 PM Permalink

This caught my eye.
Excerpt: Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's Senate testimony on May 15—that the entire leadership of the Justice Department was prepared to resign over their disagreement with the White House, particularly with Dick Cheney and his lawyer David Addington—around the NSA domestic surveillance program, raises the question once again: Is the NSA spying program much bigger than has ever been admitted?
The answer is yes.

(If you go to that link, you'll see all the data theft that's being going on for the last few years. Wayne Madsen, who manages the list, thinks it's part of a black-bag data collection scheme. Meaning, the Total Information Awareness Program is stealing the info and hoarding it in an illegal database, setting up a powerful spytool being used against the American public.)(Just food for thought.)

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A must-read indeed.

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:14 AM Permalink

Oh my. This is too precious for words. I'm going to excerpt the excerpt. It's a bit from a new book about the Cunningham scandal and this bit is about just how 'dirty' Rep. Cunningham really is.
Excerpt:..even Wilkes drew a line on what he would do for the congressman. For one thing, Wilkes was totally disgusted by the hot tub Cunningham put on the boat's deck during the autumn and winter. What repelled Wilkes -- and others invited to the parties -- was both the water Cunningham put in the hot tub and the congressman's penchant for using it while naked, even if everybody else at the party was clothed. Cunningham used water siphoned directly from the polluted Potomac River and never changed it out during the season. "Wilkes thought it was unbelievably dirty and joked if you got in there it would leave a dark water line on your chest," said one person familiar with the parties. "The water was so gross that very few people were willing to get into the hot tub other than Duke and his paramour." That was a reference to Cunningham's most frequently seen girlfriend, a flight attendant who lived in Maryland.

One of these parties started at the Capital Grille with Cunningham ordering his usual filet mignon -- very well done -- with iceberg lettuce salad and White Oak. Wilkes used the dinner to update Cunningham on the appropriations he wanted. Cunningham then took the whole group back to the boat where they drank more wine, sitting on white leather sofas while Cunningham told more war stories. Cunningham then took his clothes off and invited all to join him in the polluted hot tub that was hidden from the neighbors by a white tarp. There were no takers.

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Jumpin' High Prices, It's a Gas, Gas, Gas!

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:58 AM Permalink


I have not started my usual pattern of readin' and surfin' until something strikes me to which I feel I might able to contribute, and that touches me personally, good or bad (though lately it seems things are mostly bad and growing worse).

I didn't have to do that today. As I was scratching the sleep from my eyes CNN had on a lengthy report of high gas prices, how high they might go, why they are so high, the record profits of Big Oil (which should have answered their question about why prices are so high, duh!), and then their report turned to the lack of refinery capacity as if that were the problem.

BULLSH*T. There is not a human being in America, 'cept the little chirrun who blessedly don't have to concern themselves with this yet, that doesn't know the inevitable up/down, back and forth cycle of pricing games played by Big Oil to squeeze every penny they can from their fellow Americans, no matter how much they hurt the public, no matter how high other prices such as food, clothing, housing, and disposable commodities go, and no matter how many might go hungry for lack of ability to pay their ever higher-spiraling prices.

Every spring the prices automatically go up (have to switch blends, dontcha know, it has nothing to do with peak driving times, right?), prices will reach their peak by Labor Day, the prices will then slowly go down, but not quite as cheap as before, not by much, just a penny or two, and the cycle continues unabated to the point we find ourselves where we are now: record high prices that have, in my lifetime, gone from 23¢ per gallon during my high school days (I'm 54) up to the current California prices that are running from $3.49 to over $4.00 per gallon, over 15 times higher using the lower figure.

A price increase of over 1,500% since 1971, the year I graduated high school. Up 1,500% in just 36 years. In 1971 the average cost of a new car was $3,742. Had the price of cars gone up at the same rate as the gas that propels them, the average cost of a new car would now be $56,130 (Fifty-six thousand!).

Yet we still play the same old record year-after-year, the public complains, the press excuses and downplays the price rise and lobbies in behalf of Big Oil for more refineries or looser environmental controls, Congress screams and threatens to do something but they never do, and Big Oil has increased the cost of gas by 1,500% since 1971.

When does the game stop? How much profit is enough? Why should Big Oil be allowed to let prices run amok? Has the price of ANY other product or commodity ever risen 1,500% in less than 36 years? Will we keep playing charades while prices go up another 1,500% in much less time, probably, or do we clamp down now? Can we clamp down or has Big Oil already corrupted the political system so badly that they and they alone call the shots?

It's time for answers, but there is no one in power asking the questions. I wonder why?

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Why does anyone fear them so much?

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:22 AM Permalink

Since I'm not convinced that global warming is a man-made thing, or that man can even do anything about it, I really don't mind that the Smithsonian "injected more uncertainty" into their recent exhibit on global warming.
Excerpt: Among other things, the script, or official text, of last year's exhibit was rewritten to minimize and inject more uncertainty into the relationship between global warming and humans, said Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Also, officials omitted scientists' interpretation of some research and let visitors draw their own conclusions from the data, he said. In addition, graphs were altered "to show that global warming could go either way," Sullivan said.
What I do intensely resent, however, is the reason they did it:
Excerpt: The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum.

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I'm way too cynical

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:50 AM Permalink

to believe this.
Excerpt: Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.
Why would Iran do ANYTHING that could provoke any sort of military retaliation by the US. It makes no sense to me. The article quoted a "senior US official in Baghdad," so naturally, I'm wary. Additionally, the "official" says that Iran is working with Syria in all of this.

The article also goes on to say:
Excerpt: Any US decision to retaliate against Iran on its own territory could be taken only at the highest political level in Washington, the official said. But he indicated that American patience was wearing thin.

Warning that the US was "absolutely determined" to hit back hard wherever it was challenged by Iranian proxies or agents inside Iraq, he cited the case of five alleged members of the Revolutionary Guard's al-Quds force detained in Irbil in January. Despite strenuous protests from Tehran, which claims the men are diplomats, they have still not been released.
Highest political level? Well, everyone knows Dick Cheney has already made up his mind.

But you have to notice that not once in that whole article was one person named. NOT ONE.

I usually think highly of The Guardian, but this is as shoddy as anything Rupert Murdoch puts out.

Update: Oh yeah, and why would the Iranian Shias be working with the Iraqi Sunnis?

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What globalization has wrought.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:43 AM Permalink

The threat to our food supply from Chinese imports, whether real or imagined, is yet another example of how unchecked globalization is bad thing.
Excerpt: Dead pets and melamine-tainted food notwithstanding, change will prove difficult, policy experts say, in large part because U.S. companies have become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too.
Now, I'm not an isolationist, but should be so dependent upon another country for our food? We can grow and process our own food here... at least we used to be able to anyway.

The only solution to this sort of thing is eat locally and eat organic whenever possible. You'll still ingest crap. That's unavoidable. But at least you'll ingest LESS crap.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Old Yeller

posted by The Sailor @ 11:32 PM Permalink

Since both Dems and Repubs are calling for Gonzales to resign, why hasn't Bush done the right thing?

It's obvious isn't it?

Give him a Meddle In Honor and take him to a nice farm in the country where he can play all day with the other attorneys general!

Bush is so cruel, and I don't mean that as a put down, but when your pet AG is hurting and tries so hard but can't get up again, you should do the right thing.

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An Effluent Society

posted by The Sailor @ 11:05 PM Permalink

Longtime readers of my posts, (both of you know who I'm talking about), know that I have a pen pal who is an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal*.

So go read his article on this:Navajo Nation v. U. S. Forest Service (07 DJDAR 3335.

Really, go read it.

You didn't read it did you?

OK, how about if I quoted "Government's approval of ski resort to use recycled sewage effluent to make artificial snow on San Francisco Peaks violates Religious Freedom Restoration Act"

Aha! See what I mean?

Sheesh, you still didn't read it.

Try this: "For years, I’ve kidded my friends on the federal bench that they get the best cases because they somehow got dibs on all the cases that involve treaties and peyote. But a case that involves BOTH!? That’s like Lawlapalooza 2007. If this case goes to the Supreme Court, they should get Lynyrd Skynyrd to open and they should provide festival seating for the oral arguments!"

And Justice prevails.





*BTW, does it count as a 'pen pal' if he's never actually replied? Hmm, maybe that's a stalker ... I always get those two confused.

Headline of the Day

posted by The Sailor @ 5:52 PM Permalink

Bush, NATO Chief Discuss Increasing Afghan Violence
Gee, you'd think they'd be discussing decreasing Afghan violence!
Just another day that George screwed the pooch.

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Precedent and Prediliction for Presidential Putz bush

posted by Bill Arnett @ 9:39 AM Permalink


By now every sentient being outside the 28% that still support bush knows for a fact that bush does not know how to handle criticism, especially when it comes from a former president, nuclear engineer, and former sub commander, all things bush can never even aspire to as he lacks the intelligence and courage to put himself in harm's way to defend this country or directly respond to critics or attempt to follow well-given advice or do anything else except to send out the attack dogs.

From the Huffington Post, regarding the White House response to criticism over the weekend by former President Carter:
In a biting rebuke, the White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as "increasingly irrelevant" after his harsh criticism of President Bush.…Carter was quoted Saturday as saying "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."…The Georgia Democrat said Bush had overseen an "overt reversal of America's basic values" as expressed by previous administrations, including that of his own farther, former President George H.W. Bush. "I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," White House spokesman Tony Fratto responded Sunday from Crawford, where Bush spent the weekend.…"I think it's unfortunate," Fratto said. "And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."…Carter made the comments to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a story that appeared in the newspaper's Saturday editions.…Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo confirmed his comments to The Associated Press on Saturday and declined to elaborate.…
Former President Carter is a far, far, better, smarter, kinder, more compassionate, and more caring person than bush will ever be, as bush only dreams his dreams of being the "unitary executive" rather than being an effective president for the people of America.

President Carter is something very rare nowadays – a true gentleman, a patriot, and a true statesman, and even bush cannot dismiss Carter's well-known statesmanship in service to this country and the world, so rather than respond directly, Fearful Leader bush sends out his little irrelevant yappy attack dogs, as bush is not courageous enough to respond to President Carter directly and get laughed off the stage.

Bush is in a virtual revolt against the American citizens he was initially appointed to represent, continues to pursue a reckless and feckless war of aggression to steal a country's oil, and is earnestly trying to provoke a third war with Iran while losing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Former President Carter is a genuinely decent, honest, and intelligent man that so outclasses bush that bush is not even on the same playing field, much less "in the game" and trying to lead America to prosperity instead of despotism.

Is it possible he has played and imagined himself king too long to be man enough to respond to his critics directly? Or has he always been a coward and pretender?

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Raping the Country Not Enough-Gotta Go For Minors?

posted by Bill Arnett @ 10:43 AM Permalink


Most people are aware that the Republican Party, the GOP, the Conservatives, the Compassionate Conservatives, Reaganites, Bushies or whatever they want to call themselves today seem to have a lot of legal problems lately, lots of resignations, convictions, lawyering-up for future charges, and that, additionally, the party was severely damaged by revelations that Mark Foley, a representative of Florida, had been attempting to engage minor congressional pages in sexual congress instead of the legislative body. This scandal undoubtedly cost the party votes.

As Ronnie Raygun would have said, "Well, there they go again," after reading of such things, especially regarding the latest alleged child rapist and pedophile Republican who formerly served in the South Dakota State Legislature.

From the Argus Leader Media:
Former Republican Rep. Ted Klaudt could spend the rest of his life in prison after turning himself in to authorities Friday on felony charges that include eight counts of rape involving foster children and former legislative pages.…Five girls told authorities they were assaulted by Klaudt, court documents state, although charges filed Friday involve only two of the girls.…Four of the girls said they were accosted in Klaudt's hotel room in Pierre, where he stayed while serving in the South Dakota Legislature. Two of the girls were legislative pages when they were attacked, they told investigators.…He's accused of performing "ovary checks" and "breast exams" under the guise that he was helping young women donate their reproductive eggs, according to court records.
I am aware that child molesters come in every sex, race, nationality, and political persuasion, so I am not alleging in any way that this is an exclusively Republican problem.

I will say though, that of all the despicable people in the world, pedophiles are the worst in my mind. There may or may not be justification to kill a human being, but to my mind there is never any reason to molest a child, period.

If I had my way, every single convicted pedophile that had exhausted his/her appeals would be put to death and removed from the gene pool. Without exception.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Padilla in the Mists

posted by The Sailor @ 6:31 PM Permalink

The U.S. government obtained a crucial piece of evidence for its terrorism conspiracy case against Jose Padilla from a mound of documents dropped off at a secret CIA location in Kandahar, Afghanistan, by a tribal leader's driver, a covert agent testified Tuesday.

The CIA operative — who identified himself under oath as Tom Langston — did not name the tribal leader, the truck driver, or the area where the material was seized. The driver, he said, told him it had come from an office used by Islamic militants who fled Kandahar during the U.S. invasion in December 2001.

The document in question is Padilla's alleged application to undergo Al Qaeda training, which prosecutors hope will link the 36-year-old former Chicago gang member and his two codefendants to the Islamic terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden.
[...]
just days after Taliban leaders abandoned Kandahar, the tribal leader's driver showed up — the bed of his Toyota pickup heaped with documents and supplies cleaned out of an office that had been "vacated by Arabs," the agent said.

Though he spoke neither Pashto nor Arabic, [CIA agent] Langston said, he recognized that a blue, loose-leaf binder full of Arabic forms was significant.
[...]
He later packed the material into 22 boxes and footlockers
[...]
The government's original accusations that Padilla had plotted with Al Qaeda to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb inside the U.S. were dropped in 2005.

Before that, Padilla had been held as an enemy combatant in a military brig for 3 1/2 years.
Padilla trial focuses on `terror form'
Testimony in the terror trial of Jose Padilla resumed on Thursday with federal prosecutors focusing their attention on an alleged al Qaeda form that connects the former Broward County man to the terrorist group.

The document, a five-page form written in Arabic, has emerged as a crucial piece of evidence in the federal government's terror conspiracy case against Padilla.
Seven fingerprints on a purported al-Qaeda training-camp application came back as matches to alleged terrorist operative Jose Padilla, a government expert testified yesterday.
[...]
Although the form was one of dozens found in a binder in late 2001, it was not analyzed for Padilla's fingerprints until August 2006, Morgan said. The fingerprints appear only on the front of the first page and back of the last page, possibly indicating that the form had been simply handed to Padilla at some point, defense lawyers say.
And the witless for the prosecution?
{Yaha] Goba has testified in two other federal terror-related trials, in Idaho and New York, and acknowledged Friday that he hopes to cut some time off his 10-year prison sentence through this cooperation.
[...]
without Goba, the government's "knees are going to be cut out from under us" in terms of proving their case.
Tape of Padilla interrogation is missing

"I don't know what happened to it," Pentagon attorney James Schmidli said during a recent court hearing.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke was incredulous that anything connected to such a high-profile defendant could be lost.

"Do you understand how it might be difficult for me to understand that a tape related to this particular individual just got mislaid?"
Let me get this straight: The Bush misgovernment claims it has a 5 page document of Padilla's application to al-Qaida. Yet the document does not have Padilla's name on it, and they've lost evidence.

The 'application' was only partially filled out ... in 2 different colors of ink. And the FBI says the document in question was delivered by an undisclosed Afghani at an undisclosed location to an undisclosed CIA agent, in the bed of a pickup truck ... along with 22 boxes and footlockers worth of other documents.

The undisclosed CIA officer testified that he immediately realized the significance of thatone folder, among that pickup truck bed full of documents ... even tho Agent Alan Smithee doesn't speak or write arabic or pashto.

And although the document was 'discovered' in 2001, the FBI didn't test it until August 2006 ... a year after the Bush administration tried to avoid a court showdown because they couldn't justify keeping an American citizen locked up without charges or trial.

Then Bush et al avoided this pesky habeus corpus battle by transferring Padilla's case from the military to civilian courts.

But only after Padilla was held for 3 1/2 years in solitary confinement in a military brig where he was tortured.

Padilla's fingerprints are only on the front and back pages, not internal ones, and it is impossible to determine when they were placed there.

Padilla's case was added to an already existing case, for reasons that remain unclear. And the original sensational charges against Padilla are not alleged in this case. Even the judge, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, said during a pretrial hearing the government's case was "very light on facts."

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Another Lying Liar Lies Again Just to Lie

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:07 PM Permalink


"We make it powerfully and visually apparent to everybody that, if we don't win in Iraq, we are going to lose America. It's that simple. Melanie Morgan, Republican Talking Head and Liar


This is a direct quote from Morgan in response to interview questions from Judy Woodruff here.

Just what kind of boneheaded idiot would believe a statement like that? I have pointed out before that experts estimate there are between 20,000-40,000 terrorists worldwide.

Insufficient numbers to populate a small mid-western town. Insufficient numbers to form anything more than a very small army. And certainly insufficient numbers to swarm across our borders, insufficient numbers come ashore in waves from ships at sea, and insufficient numbers to form an air force that could even seriously damage America, much less defeat us.

This is a major problem for this country as people of Morgan's ilk no longer inhabit the "…the Home of the Brave" and instead occupy some fairyland where every enemy is THE existential threat to be faced by the very cowards that tremble in fear every time a terrorist says, "Boo!"

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

We're taking what they're giving while we're dying for a living*

posted by The Sailor @ 7:02 PM Permalink

White House: 3.5 percent pay hike unnecessary

Troops don't need bigger pay raises
On the other hand
VA bonus recipients sat on boards that oversaw payments

Nearly two dozen officials who received hefty performance bonuses last year at the Veterans Affairs Department also sat on the boards charged with recommending the payments.

Documents obtained by the Associated Press raise questions of conflict of interest in connection with the bonuses, some of which went to senior officials involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short and jeopardized veterans' health care.

The documents show that 21 of 32 officials who were members of VA performance review boards received more than half a million dollars in payments themselves.


Among them: nearly a dozen senior officials who devised the flawed 2005 budget. Also rewarded was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who manages a system with severe backlogs of veterans waiting for disability benefits.

Some members of the review boards, which are appointed by VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, also had input on bonus recommendations involving themselves, fellow members and spouses that made questionable performance claims and neglected agency problems.
[...]
Annual bonuses to senior VA officials last year averaged more than $16,000, the highest average in government.


(Big hat tip to skippy.)



* Sincere apologies to BTO for munging their hook. And sincere thanks to Randy for feeding me when I was hungry.

It just gets more, well, wow.

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:54 PM Permalink

I briefly commented on the whole Ashcroft being ambushed in the hospital with the spying thing. Well, I didn't so much as comment as just write "wow" more times than was appropriate.

And again, I'm at a loss for words. Bush's non-denial denial is, well, wow.
Excerpt: The president's refusal to answer tells the tale. The president gave the order and even placed the call, as James Comey all but told us yesterday.
Here's a constitutional lawyer, Jonathan Turley, talking about it on Keith Olberman's show.

Oh yeah. It's all bad.

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Can't say it any better

posted by The Vidiot @ 4:49 PM Permalink

I don't read Juan Cole's blog enough. He gets the Middle East like nobody else. And he just did this piece for Salon that is a must read.
Excerpt: The small morality play unfolding at the World Bank tells us something significant about how the United States became bogged down in the Iraq quagmire when Wolfowitz was highly influential at the Department of Defense. The simple fact is that Wolfowitz has throughout his entire career demonstrated a penchant for cronyism and for smearing and marginalizing perceived rivals as tactics for getting his way. He has been arrogant and highhanded in dismissing the views of wiser and more informed experts, exhibiting a narcissism that is also apparent in his personal life. Indeed, these tactics are typical of what might be called the "neoconservative style."
Read the whole thing. You'll wince.

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I Just Can't Let the Liars Lie with Impunity Anymore

posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:50 AM Permalink


Of all the posts I am likely to write now or in the future, this may be the one that gets me in trouble the most, but I don't care. I spend much time listening to C-Span and C-Span 2 and hear the most outrageous lies repeated endlessly:
I am sick unto death with Republican Liars standing up in the House and Senate to spout Lie after Lie after Lie, endlessly, in a format that does not allow another member to call the speaker an outright Liar as, of course, comity and good manners must be maintained at all times.

I am not a member of the Senate or the House so I am not bound to honor a rule that acts to speciously force politeness and respect where none is deserved or has been earned. I am therefore, from time to time, going to repeat, with accreditation, the most egregious lies made by the biggest group of professional Liars in America today, the GOP, the Republicans, the Conservatives, the Compassionate Conservatives or whatever other name by which they may be known.
Today's member of the senate shaming himself with his mendacities and who regularly spouts meaningless tripe as if he were delivering a sermon:
Senator Judd Gregg (R-SameOldLies) is standing on the floor speaking a lie about every other word, but he started his rant with the biggest lie ever sold to Americans; "We Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility and Democrats are the tax and spend party
This is so untrue as to be one of the more ludicrous and well known Lies bouncing around the face of the planet.

Republicans have overseen the greatest expansion of government in history, turning a $5.5 trillion surplus into a $9 trillion deficit along the way. Republicans have us bogged down in a war we cannot win and are spending over a billion dollars a week to support their failed effort. More children are living in poverty and going to bed hungry than ever before. More are without health insurance than ever before.

Gregg actually bragged that there had been 22 months of the greatest economic expansion in our country's history. He brags that Rethugs have created over 7 million jobs. He neglects to mention that bush 43, aided by the rubberstamping 109th Congress, has spent more money than ALL PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS COMBINED.

Last month's growth in the GDP was a miserable 1.5% after readjusting the number down from 2.5, which is what the Rethugs alleged that was also untrue. This is the type of growth that, if the Rethugs had managed to change Social Security, would have wiped out any "personal savings accounts" and would be leaving our seniors destitute.

I guess it isn't convenient for the Rethug Liars to acknowledge that on Clinton's watch the country prospered as never before, 22.5 million jobs were created, the Dow Jones increased in value 180%, and the Rethugs want to claim the greatest expansion of the economy ever? BS!

Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) is now correcting the record and actually said, "Mr. President their claim of fiscal responsible is unfortunately contradicted by the facts." He went on to say that Republicans have proven to be the "borrow and spend" party of the country.

I would have said, "Sirrah, you are naught but a Liar and a Fraud." (Maybe not that politely)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Can you spot the terrorist?

posted by The Sailor @ 10:39 PM Permalink

The six men and four women already admitted being involved in a series of arson fires that did $40 million in damage to research facilities, a ski resort and other businesses in the West. But are they terrorists as the government says?
[...]
Prosecutors want Judge Ann Aiken to declare the group terrorists
[...]
No one was injured
As opposed to:
Extremist taunts his victims from prison

Victims of Eric Rudolph, the anti-abortion extremist who pulled off a series of bombings across the South, say he is taunting them from deep within the nation's most secure federal prison, and authorities say there is little they can do to stop him.
[...]
But Rudolph's long essays have been posted on the Internet by a supporter who maintains an Army of God Web site.

In one piece, Rudolph seeks to justify violence against abortion clinics by arguing that Jesus would condone "militant action in defense of the innocent."
Hmm, religious extremists who use their holy book to justify bombings and murder and still continue their proselytizing while incarcerated.
Now where have I heard that before!? It's a good thing (for them) that they're white and believe in jebus else they'd all be in gitmo.

Remember kids, it's not terrorism if your extremist beliefs coincide with the government's!

Another General Revolt(s)

posted by The Sailor @ 5:31 PM Permalink


General Eaton: If President Bush Won't Listen, Congress Must

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Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.

posted by The Vidiot @ 5:03 PM Permalink

Bump and update, see below.

What's wrong with this sentence:
Excerpt: But with Iran measures possibly headed to the House floor as early as today, it is unclear if Democrats have the votes to pass legislation calling for the president to seek authorization from Congress for a preemptive strike on Iran.
Pardon me, but isn't a CONSTITUTIONAL NECESSITY that the president ask the Congress for permission to go to war? Why are they asking him to ask? They shouldn't even be DEMANDING that he ask. They shouldn't have to. He has to ask. Period.

However, we've been living in bizarro world for a while now. You'd think I'd be used to it.

ADDITION: by The Sailor

Yes, only congress can declare war ... but that doesn't mean the president won't start one and just say it's not a 'war.' (See 'Police Action' AKA Korea; see 'military engagement' AKA Vietnam, more here.)

And Bush was certainly pushing for a war, (I don't care what they call it, if our troops are fighting and dying over there, it's a war), with Iran. It was the next step in the neocon playbook. We saw the same ramp up in rhetoric, the posturing ... and yet it didn't happen. Why? The military wouldn't go along with it.
CENTCOM Commander's Veto Sank Bush's Threatening Gulf Buildup

Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.
[...]
Fallon's refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran "will not happen on my watch".

Asked how he could be sure, the source says, Fallon replied, "You know what choices I have. I'm a professional." Fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box."

I certainly echo Vid when she talks about the bizarro world we live in. Whoda cast Ashcroft as a defender of the Constitution and a general as preventing a war!?

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The Geico cavemen TV Show

posted by The Vidiot @ 11:43 AM Permalink

Yes, they're planning on making a sitcom based on the Geico cavemen. I am, of course, amused by the commercials. But a sitcom? I don't know.

What I do know though, is that if they do make it, they have to include a gag routine about fire. Every time one of the cavemen lights a visible fire, be it a stove top, or when they light a cigarette, they have to make a quiet, grunting, sort of surprised sound at the sight of it. Like they're a little afraid, startled and excited, all at the same time. And this gag has to happen. Every. Single. Time.

Now THAT would be funny.

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Trying something new

posted by The Vidiot @ 10:29 AM Permalink

A new feature. Maybe. I did a comic book about my step-dad some years ago and never really published it. Let's see if this works in blog format. I may start a whole new blog just for "Dave", but for now, I'll just post a few here every now and then. First, an introduction:



We'll see if this works. If you don't think it belongs here, let me know.

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From a Comment Below: Action Alert

posted by The Vidiot @ 9:39 AM Permalink

Here is a list of the 25 most recent comments made by real Americans participating in an online poll/letter-writing campaign concerning the impeachment charges recently filed against Vice President Cheney, which are now being evaluated by the House Judiciary Committee. Comments can be sent to elected representatives and local newspapers at your option.

The participation page is here.

Since this campaign began, three members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors, in part due to hearing from their constituents.

Thank you anonymous.

While I'm not ready

posted by The Vidiot @ 8:00 AM Permalink

to cheer the death of anybody, the passing of Mr. Falwell is notable. Mostly because we won't have to look at him any more. We'll still have to hear him though. Reams and reams of footage exist on the man. So we're stuck with that.

But what I would love to be is a fly on the wall of his after-death experience.
Booming voice: Mr. Falwell?

JF: Is that you, God?

Booming voice: Mr. Falwell? Why did you hate homosexuals? Are you not aware that I created them too?

JF: But they chose to be that way. They could've chosen not to.

Booming Voice: Wrong! I MADE them that way you imbecile. {sigh} Well, since I love all of my creations, even you, I will allow you into Heaven. But only for one night. Then I will send you back to Earth. You, Mr. Falwall, need a do-over. But this time, you will not be a wealthy and corpulant white reverend with way more media access than he deserves. No. THIS time, you will be a poor gay man with multiple gender identity issues. Enjoy!


Well, in my mind, that's the way it SHOULD go down.

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Wow. I mean wow.

posted by The Vidiot @ 7:45 AM Permalink

Who knew I'd ever long for the return of Ashcroft.
Excerpt: In early March 2004, Ashcroft had been incapacitated, and was in the hospital, resulting in Comey serving as Acting Attorney General until Ashcroft was able to return to office.

Subsequently, Gonzales, serving then as White House Counsel, and Andrew Card, former White House Chief of Staff, arrived at Ashcroft's hospital bed, and asked the sick Attorney General to give his approval for the program. Ashcroft stated his strong opposition to the re-authorization. But then he added that his opinion was not important.
Wow. Ambushing a sick guy in bed in the hospital.

Wow.

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This is as I have been saying all along.

posted by Global Patriot Worker @ 7:39 AM Permalink

The truth dam is breaking and there will be no stopping it. I have been trying to notify folks to bone up on the facts so that they won't be blindsided as the facts emerge. I'm trying to warn folks.

On the 11th of May, I posted a huge sign in my front yard and I decided just to leave it up. On the same day I wrote a sensible letter to the largest newspaper in my area (see below) and as of yet nobody has even acknowledged receiving it. It went to everybody of major importance on the paper's staff and even to one reporter I know personally. No response.

There are dark days ahead but then the sun will shine brighter than ever before. The lies are unravelling at breakneck pace as they always do. My take is that Rosie is just an average caring American who is doing what we should all do, look at all of the discrepancies of 9/11 and try to make sense of it all. The people are doing it because our organs of government are now compromised and cannot be trusted. Thank You neocons you've all done a "heckuva job!"

Here's the letter:

To The Folks at The Janesville Gazette,

I thank you ahead of time for investing a bit of time with this letter.

Today is , as is every 11th of every month, a time to reengage ourselves in the pursuit of truth about the events of 9/11. We simply do not know the full and complete story of what happened that day and the truths already uncovered are indeed ominous. We Americans who are exposing truth on a daily basis will hold the 11th of every month as a solemn day. We intend to keep the pressure on until the full and unvarnished truth is presented to the American people in honor of all who have been victimized by the violence of 9/11 and the wars that have followed.

I realize that truth can be a mighty tough pill to swallow but the alternative is even worse. It is far more harmful to let a wound fester and an illness go untreated.

In that light I wish The Janesville Gazette would devote an ample amount of time to revealing the truths we already know that do not square with what the government has presented to us. Much of the truth exists in the myriad of ommissions not included in the accounts of that day. We have based paradigm shifting decisions on the attacks of 9/11 and to that end we must never waver in trying to understand exactly what happened.

I do not wish to go into the entire laundry list of questions that remain but there are a few that do not allow me to sleep well at night.

I want to know what we are entitled to with our tax money. What do I mean? Well...our ultra expensive and highly capable military was not able to protect our airspace that day and that is after practicing for 50 years of the cold war. What did we get for our money? Who botched the response? Have you ever heard of one single solitary individual being held responsible for failure that day. All of the folks that scream about high taxes and wasteful spending should be justifiably outraged that our hard earned dollars were seemingly squandered on 9/11!

I want to know why the third major skyscraper to fall in New York City on 9/11 did so at 5:20pm that day without being hit by a plane and experiencing only tiny isolated fires. That collapse defies several inalienable laws of physics and was certainly a controlled demolition. The Securities Exchange Commission, the FBI, The Secret Service and the New York Office of Emergency Management all had huge complexes in that structure. That in and of itself is very suspicious. And if that isn't enough the BBC and CNN both reported it as having collapsed up to one full hour before it actually did! Just how much BS is one supposed to endure?

I want to know why Secret Service protocol was not followed on 9/11 as they allowed the President to subject himself and the elementary school he was visiting to imminent danger. They knew the country was under attack and still they let him read to children for quite some time. This needs an explanation. Once again there are rules that must be followed and they were not. Where is the accountability?

I could dwell on the questions for an entire day for they are quite numerous. I ask that you allow me to sum up the purpose of this letter.

The truth is not a nebulous matrix of associated innuendo. The truth is the truth. The truth will not fade away or allow itself to be watered down over time. It is more akin to stone for it will be there till the Earth ceases to exist. Therefore the sooner it is exposed the less of a chance there is to trip over it.

The Janesville Gazette owes something precious to its dedicated readers and that is not turning a blind eye to the patently obvious. The Janesville Gazette is a full fledged member of the American free press charged with keeping our beloved nation in balance. I fear that by not looking into the disturbing questions of 9/11 that balance is in jeopardy.

I for one am willing to help anyone at any time to sort this all out. I will speak to groups for free and answer as many questions as you may have. I will debate anyone willing to defend the official account of what happened on 9/11/01.

I want peace. I want justice. I want freedom.

Respectfully,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

When All Else Fails – Blame the Girlfriend

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:18 PM Permalink


I would like to preface my remarks today with a question: What kind of coward blames his girlfriend for actions he himself took?

It totally blows me away that some putz like Wolfowitz can be appointed to temporary ruler of Iraq and screw that up royally, and then when this f**k-up is appointed to President of the World Bank and screws that up, he blames his girlfriend. Aside the fact that the man is just a total idiot, it is clear that insofar as he is concerned, chivalry is truly dead, slain in the interest of hanging onto a job, for which Wolfowitz has clearly shown himself to be incompetent, by the fingernails.

Just what kind of vicious vile viper full of villainy would seek to finger his girlfriend for his crimes? (Hmm, this sentence lends itself to problematic interpretations, doesn't it?)

See this WaPo.com article:
A World Bank investigating committee sharply rebuked President Paul D. Wolfowitz, concluding that he broke ethics rules and undermined the integrity of the institution in engineering a hefty pay raise for his girlfriend.…In a written response, Wolfowitz maintained that he acted in good faith in seeking to resolve an obvious conflict of interest. He accused the bank's ethics committee of forcing him to oversee the raise for his longtime companion, Shaha Riza, as compensation for her transfer to a different job. The ethics panel was afraid to confront her, Wolfowitz said, because its members knew she was "extremely angry and upset."…The ethics committee told Wolfowitz he could not directly supervise Riza, who also worked at the bank, after he arrived in 2005. He said, however, that the panel declined to oversee her job transfer and compensation, instead ordering him to handle those tasks.…"Its members did not want to deal with a very angry Ms. Riza, whose career was being damaged as a result of their decision," Wolfowitz said in his response to the investigating committee's report. "It would only be human nature for them to want to steer clear of her."…Wolfowitz added that the chairman of the ethics panel thought that "due to my personal relationship with Ms. Riza, I was in the best position to persuade her to take out-placement and thereby achieve the 'pragmatic solution' the committee desired."…Wolfowitz effectively blamed Riza for his predicament as well, saying that her "intractable position" in demanding a salary increase as compensation for her career disruption forced him to grant one to pre-empt a lawsuit.
So not only is Wolfowitz making a truly pitiful and pitiable effort to blame this matter in his girlfriend, but he cowardly asserts that "the Board" forced him to make the decision because "the Board," comprised of some of the finest financial minds of people who have dealt with personnel matters over a lifetime of service, was too cowardly and scared to deal with an "angry" girlfriend.

Hogwash and equine excrement. Any employee that a board of some organization feels is "too scary" or would be "to angry" for the board to decide what to do with them, would be an employee who would quickly find themselves sitting on their a$$ at the side of the road wondering just how they got there so fast.

Never would I dream that people reaching this level of success would be too cowardly to deal with an employee, and it is a mark of true desperation that Wolfowitz seeks to brand them all cowards while asserting he was the only one "brave enough" to deal with her.

A chickensh*t coward of the highest order.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

How To Make Up Progress in Iraq

posted by The Sailor @ 7:25 PM Permalink

What do these stories have in common?
Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress

The Pentagon has placed unprecedented restrictions on who can testify before Congress, reserving the right to bar lower-ranking officers, enlisted soldiers, and career bureaucrats from appearing before oversight committees or having their remarks transcribed, according to Defense Department documents.

Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs
last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.
[...]
in addition, according to the memo, the proceedings must not be recorded.

Wilkie's memo also stipulated that any officers who are allowed to testify must be accompanied by an official from the administration, such as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and his top-level aides.

[...]
The guidelines claim the right to provide Congress only with witnesses who are Bush administration appointees -- as opposed to longtime senior government officials who do not owe their jobs to the current administration -- to provide sworn testimony.
Iraq to bar press from blast scenes

Iraq's interior ministry has decided to bar news photographers and camera operators from the scenes of bomb attacks, operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf said on Sunday (local time).
Iraq asks Qatar 'rein in' Aljazeera
 
The Iraqi government has asked its Qatari counterpart to interfere with the Arabic Aljazeera satellite channel to halt what it described as its anti-Iraqi rhetoric.
[...]
Aljazeera is banned to report from Iraq and its offices have been closed for nearly two years. However, the channel still manages to scoop major competitors by airing interviews and broadcasting events which seem to have angered the Iraqi authorities.
[...]
The statement signed by Foreign Ministry Hoshyar al-Zaibari said Aljazeera reporting of Iraq-related events mounted to "meddling in internal Iraqi affairs and directly contributes to the incitement of terror."
Gee, and here I thought that all those US military, suicide and IED bombings, the gunships firing on civilian homes, the sectarian violence and the house to house searches killing civilians contributed to the incitement of terror.
But it's not like this is a new thing:

Pentagon Moved to Fix Iraqi Media Before Invasion

In the run-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon planned to create a 'Rapid Reaction Media Team' (RRMT) designed to ensure control over major Iraqi media while providing an Iraqi 'face' for its efforts, according to a 'White Paper' obtained by the independent National Security Archive (NSA) which released it Tuesday.
[...]
Both the paper and the slide presentation were prepared by two Pentagon offices — Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, which, among other things, specialize in psychological warfare, and the Office of Special Plans under then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith — in mid-January, 2003, two months before the invasion, according to NSA analyst Joyce Battle.
[...]
The contractors included the Rendon Group and Scientific Applications International Corporation (SAIC) [...] The third company covered by the audit is the five-year-old Lincoln Group which, among other activities, has reportedly paid millions of dollars to Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-U.S. articles since the invasion.
[...]
The RRMT should also ''identify the media infrastructure that we need left intact, and work with CENTCOM targeteers to find alternative ways of disabling key sites," including, presumably, those media outlets whose messages were not consistent with the themes the Pentagon wished to convey.
And what were the alternative methods? I'm so glad I asked. They included bombing and killing reporters with an alternative viewpoint:
''Evidently, the Baghdad headquarters of the Arab satellite network 'al-Jazeera was not part of 'the media infrastructure that we need left intact,"' noted the NSA's Battle, who pointed to the Apr. 8, 2003 U.S. missile attack that hit the network's Baghdad bureau, killing reporter Tariq Ayoub. The Pentagon had been extensively briefed on the bureau's location before the invasion, and the offices were well-marked as a ''TV" facility.

Al-Jazeera's Kabul bureau which was located in a downtown office building was also destroyed by two ''smart bombs" during the U.S. air campaign in Afghanistan in late 2001. In April, 2004, during an extended battle covered by al-Jazeera — for Fallujah, Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush suggested attacking the network's Qatar headquarters during a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, according to leaked notes of the talks.
And about those 'leaked notes'?
Two found guilty over Bush-Blair memo leak
[...]
Its contents were so secret that much of the trial was held behind closed doors with the press excluded.
Lie about it, bomb it, kill it, put it in prison ... it's still the truth.

And that's the only thing that escapes this war.



(A big hat tip to Bill Arnett, who inspired this post. Thanks Bill!)