There could be no other person as deserving of being booed as bush.
Excuse me, but isn't that precisely why he sent someone else to the first National game played after the revival of the team? Cheney wasn't it? I remember that cheney was also booed, so now they have a two-fer.
US Green Zone Attacked Despite Cleric's Order To Stop Fighting
Article text from headline one:
Iraqis returned to the streets of Baghdad after a curfew was lifted, and the southern port city of Basra appeared quiet on Monday, a day after the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr called for his followers to stop fighting and in turn demanded concessions from Iraq’s government.
Mr. Sadr’s statement on Sunday afternoon was released at the end of six days in which his Mahdi Army militia had held off an American-supported Iraqi assault on Basra.
No serious clashes were reported in Basra on Monday morning. In Baghdad, which had been virtually brought to a standstill by protests and violence over the past week, life appeared to return to normal with the streets filling with traffic. A succession of mortar shells rocked the Green Zone. But in most neighborhoods, people went back to work and shopped for supplies that they were unable to buy during the curfew.
From article text from heafline two:
The fortified Green Zone came under fresh attack Monday, less than 24 hours after anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his fighters to stand down following a week of clashes with government forces.[…]
The rocket or mortar attacks on the nerve center of the U.S. mission and the Iraqi government continued more than a week of near-daily fire mostly from Shiite-dominated areas of eastern Baghdad.
The number of rounds going into the zone has dropped in recent days, but the continuing attacks indicate that al-Sadr may not be able to reign in all Shiite militia factions..
The U.S. Embassy said no serious injuries were reported and the U.S. military said it had no reports of major damage. At least two Americans working for the U.S. government died in attacks on the zone last week.
Oh, pardon me. I was foolish enough to consider the Green Zone as part of the city of Baghdad, when everyone knows that it is really a 104-acre self-contained city being built as a monument to bush at tremendous cost.
Oh, pooh. There's that word "city" again describing bush's monument to himself, even though it is completely part of and surrounded by Baghdad.
Maybe headline two should have read:
Subsets of Baghdad City, "came under fresh attack Monday, less than 24 hours after anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr told his fighters to stand down."
I also find this part of the article to be highly offensive and indicative of the current trend to believe any propaganda from the Embassy there:
The U.S. Embassy said no serious injuries were reported and the U.S. military said it had no reports of major damage. At least two Americans working for the U.S. government died in attacks on the zone last week.
I'll wager that the families of the two Americans killed during this almost non-stop bombing of the Green Zone would vehemently disagree with the conclusion that, "…no serious injuries were reported and the U.S. military said it had no reports of major damage.…"
posted by The Vidiot @ 11:46 AM Permalink
So when they start arresting people who look like Americans, they can just say they were al Qaeda. [wink wink]
CIA director Michael Hayden warned Sunday that Al-Qaeda was training operatives who "look western" and could enter the United States undetected to conduct terrorist attacks.
Never mind that al Qaeda is more than likely a complete and total fabrication
BBC’s killer documentary called “The Power of Nightmares“. Top CIA officials openly admit, Al-qaeda is a total and complete fabrication, never having existed at any time. The Bush administration needed a reason that complied with the Laws so they could go after “the bad guy of their choice” namely laws that had been set in place to protect us from mobs and “criminal organizations” such as the Mafia. They paid Jamal al Fadl, hundreds of thousands of dollars to back the U.S. Government’s story of Al-qaeda, a “group” or criminal organization they could “legally” go after. This video documentary is off the hook…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 11:05 AM Permalink
On my first bit of surfin' the web this morning this headline in the NYT caught my attention and intrigued me.
The headline: Top U.S. Housing Official Resigns.
Just looking at it made my head spin as I couldn't for the life of me figure why a Housing Secretary, a cabinet position, would just slip out the back, Jack, make a new plan, Stan, no reason need to be coy, Roy, just got himself free, was he thrown under the bus, Gus, he didn't discuss much, he just dropped off his key, Lee, and set himself free-mostly because I just can't get Paul Simon out of my head this morning-but honestly, I didn't think he would have much to do with the current subprime mortgage crisis. So I did the only decent thing to do, I let my five Boston Terriers out-they were very grateful-and clicked on the headline link to the article.
Most revealing from the article:
Housing Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson resigned his post on Monday, removing a key player from the Bush administration team dealing with the financial crisis set off by the slump in the housing market and the problems with subprime mortgage lending.
Mr. Jackson made the announcement in a brief statement to reporters in which he thanked his staff for their work, danced a little jig, and then hastened from the building, Bloomberg News reported. [Ok, so I made up some of that. Bill]
The resignation came at the same time that another Cabinet member, Treasury Secretary Henry J. Paulson, was announcing the administration’s proposals for an overhaul of the way the financial industry is regulated in response to the crisis.
Pretty benign it seemed. Then I hit the likely most obvious reason for which he has resigned:
Mr. Jackson, 62, has been under investigation by the Justice Department and the housing department’s inspector general in inquiries focusing on whether he gave lucrative housing contracts to friends. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has interviewed several of his employees.
When the FBI starts talking to possibly disgruntled employees of an asininely rude and crude official who once famously said, in front of a House committee!:
In 2004, less than two months after his confirmation as housing secretary, Mr. Jackson told a House panel that he believed poverty “is a state of mind, not a condition.” Two years later, he said in a speech that he had canceled a contract for a company after its president told him that he did not like Mr. Bush. Mr. Jackson later said he had made the story up.
With a guy like this, whose employees finally have the chance to dump on him, you can bet that all the flotsam and jettison from years past will come floating to the surface. Especially since the phrase, "I want to spend more time with my family," has practically become code for an admission of guilt for anyone leaving the administration. That means somebody is likely in trouble. Will the time he spends with his family be on visiting days at whatever white collar country club prison they may send him to?
Yes, there must be fifty way to leave the administration. Being jailed or prosecuted for various criminal offenses just seems the most popular.
An 80-year-old church deacon was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.
Police said that Don Zirkel, of Bethpage, was disturbing shoppers at the Lake Grove mall with his T-shirt, which had what they described as “graphic anti-war images.” [...] Zirkel was charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. He was released on bail. A spokeswoman for mall owner Simon Property Group did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Generally speaking, a mall has the right to control what happens on its property, said John McEntee, a Uniondale commercial litigation lawyer.
Gee, would that be this John McEntee!? Well there's a lawyer who never met a corporation he didn't suck hind tit on!
Maybe it's legally true in New York that cops can yank an 80 year old Catholic Deacon out of his seat in the mall and arrest him for wearing a t-shirt, maybe it's not.
Is it too much to ask that reporters do the same research as a profession that I can do as a citizen?
Seriously folks, they get paid for this? I get paid to do medical research, but on my own time I spent 20 minutes on Google, 2 phone calls, and have a more balanced piece.
Even if it is legal, it's even more legal to boycott and/or complain to the Simon Group who owns these bastions of non-free speech: Simon Property Group, Inc. 225 West Washington Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 (317) 636-1600
Under pressure from the food industry, the Agriculture Department is considering a proposal not to identify retailers where tainted meat went for sale except in cases of serious health risk, The Associated Press has learned. [...] The plan is being considered as the USDA puts the final touches on a proposed disclosure rule. It had lingered in draft form for two years until getting pushed to the forefront in February, when 143 million pounds of beef were recalled by Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., after undercover video by an animal-rights activist showed workers abusing crippled cows.
I have a quick correction for the AP, they weren't 'crippled cows', they were 'downer cows.' And I have a question for the USDA, did your scientists decide it wasn't a 'serious health risk' or did your politicians decide?
And once again, the only across the aisle blog we link to, the infamous Jon Swift continues to fan the flames of the dems meltdown.
Obama supporters also understand that voting should never be about picking the lesser of two evils or about making a strategic choice. If you don't agree with everything your candidate says, believe he or she can do no wrong and think that the other candidate is evil and that everyone who supports him or her is a traitor, then you really have no business voting at all.
We agree to a point, but we would add that no one but us, actually me, should get to vote.
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:12 PM Permalink
Have you seen it? It's pretty awesome. During one episode, they pointed to a map that showed the way the country had broken apart and each territory had its own declared president. Mr. Vidiot and I just sort of looked at each other like "and that would be a bad thing?" Beyond that though, the show is riddled with paranoia, government power, conspiracies and heroism. It's really quite good. Not Farscape good, but good nonetheless. This guy thinks it's a bit too real.
A friend recently turned me on to the CBS television series, Jericho. I watch so little network television that I confess to never having seen the show before this week. Obviously, then, I am quite uninformed as to the overall plot and previous episodes. What I saw Tuesday evening, however, stunned me. Why? Because it very aptly depicted what could become a very real-life scenario for these United States in the not-so-distant future.
SciFi is showing it on Monday nights at 10. For how long, I don't know. CBS just canceled it and I'm not sure how the CBS, SciFi thing works.
The cover story of this coming Sunday’s New York Times magazine asks the provocative question: “The End of Republican America?” The photo below shows a red inflatable elephant – collapsed and leaking air.
“Karl Rove had a plan to realign American politics for generations. Now GOP leaders are struggling to prevent another 1964,” reads the rest of the cover tag. The article was penned by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who also writes for Rolling Stone.
But it doesn't. But not because I'm not a cheerleader.
For one thing, I never believed for a minute that it was a Republican America, in the sense of a political party. At least, not the Republicans that actually EXIST as opposed to what most folks assume Republican's are. Reality Republicanism is riddled with pork, hypocrisy and corporate money. (So are Democrats for that matter.) True party Republicanism borders libertarian - a limited government that allows institutions to operate without much government interference. (Think Thomas Jefferson, anti-federalists.)
But that party crap is neither here nor there.
First, we need a clear definition of 'Republican'. Leaving behind the obvious party affiliation, simply, a Republican is a person who supports the idea that the best form of government is a limited one that has
the supreme power lying in the body of citizens who vote for officers and representatives responsible to them or characteristic of such government.
That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Most folks would agree that people should be able to elect whomever they want to represent them. Right? So, I think most can all pretty much agree that this country should remain a Republican America, using that definition.
So now you know why the title of the story is more truthful than one might notice: The End of Republican America. Think about it. If 'Republican America' is over, what have we left? If we're no longer Republican, what are we? A totalitarian regime? A dictatorship? A corptocracy?
Food for thought.
[The words on the cover of that issue will most likely end up on my bulletin board to remind me what is really happening out there.]
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Attorney General Michael Mukasey vowed anew Thursday to crack down on crooked politicians and public officials, dismissing critics who accuse the Justice Department of letting partisan loyalties interfere with corruption cases.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday called on Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey to explain the recent disbanding of a high-profile unit in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles that specialized in prosecuting public corruption cases.
In a letter to the attorney general, Feinstein said she read about the shake-up in news accounts.
The articles described how U.S. Atty. Thomas P. O'Brien decided to eliminate the public corruption and environmental crimes section and transfer its 17 prosecutors to other units in the office.
During his speech, Mukasey pointedly spoke of charges brought against two former Republican congressmen: Randy "Duke" Cunningham of California and Bob Ney of Ohio.
Uhh, OK, but they were before Mukasey was in charge.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Judiciary Committee asked the Justice Department on Thursday to allow imprisoned former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman to testify before Congress about possible political influence over his prosecution.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey indicated that he would not support the request for a temporary release
posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:12 PM Permalink
…The dipstick occupying the White House recently said that all he knows about Obama's foreign policy ideas was "he wants to embrace Iran's president and bomb our ally, Pakistan." (paraphrasing)
So take a gander at this from the WaPo.com titled, "U.S. Steps Up Unilateral Strikes in Pakistan.":
The United States has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that the country's new leaders will insist on a scaling back of military operations in that country, according to U.S. officials.
Washington is worried that pro-Western President Pervez Musharraf, who has generally supported the U.S. strikes, will almost certainly have reduced powers in the months ahead, and so it wants to inflict as much damage as it can to al-Qaeda's network now, the officials said.
"'Nobody can move,' said Hassan Muhammad Jasim, an emergency aid worker who lives in the Jubaila neighborhood in central Basra. Since Tuesday night, he's lived with the sound of heavy gunfire.
"In one neighborhood, a 23-year-old man carrying food and clean water for his family was shot, witnesses said. People called an ambulance, but there was no response. He bled to death."[…]
"During a briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday, a British military official said that of the nearly 30,000 Iraqi security forces involved in the assault, almost 16,000 were Basra police forces, which have long been suspected of being infiltrated by the same militias the assault was intended to root out. . . .
"[I]f the Mahdi Army breaks completely with the cease-fire that has helped to tamp down attacks in Iraq during the past year, there is a risk of replaying 2004, when the militia fought intense battles with American forces that destabilized the entire country and ushered in years of escalating violence."
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:40 PM Permalink
They have been showing the cell in which Saddam was held until his death. Now that's the way to go after news you can use. I wonder if they will show the rope with which he was hung? His underwear? A strand of his hair? A sock with a hole in it? His last roll of toilet paper?
IMHO, Kyra Philips should be giving traffic reports at some obscure network and stop pretending to be a reporter news stenographer.
No wonder we never hear any real news coming out of Iraq anymore.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:54 PM Permalink
…eventually the cows come home to roost. Or somethin' like that.
Anywho, I guess this is my way of commenting on the housing market crashing and burning.
Homeowners, most of you deserve the problems you're having, with the singular exception of the poor bastids who were snookered into a house that lenders knew damn well they could not afford.
The rest of people having problems are those who bought the notion that "…property ALWAYS gains in value so buy, buy, buy!"
And that is what made home ownership a fantasy for many of us.
Example: The house in which I live, and the surrounding homes, were all built about sixty years ago. When I rented this joint seven years ago homes in this neighborhood sold for around $300,000 (which I considered outrageous, even then). Right before this crash people were selling these same homes for well over $500,000. Now sellers can't even get people to look at the houses for sale here, many of which have been on sale for over a year or more. "Open House" days must be very dreary for realtors these days 'cause there ain't nothing being sold here.
Once the dust settles and house prices come down from the stratosphere to meet up with the reality of what the homes are actually worth then many more people will be able to realize their dream of home ownership.
Until people understand that raising the price of sixty year old houses by a quarter of a million dollars in less than seven years is a bad idea, leading to problems such as those that now exist, I'll be staying out of the market.
Maybe I just abhor the idea of buying things you can ill afford even if you believe the myth that property always gains value.
When a myth is exposed as a lie is it still a myth?
Instead, a special resolution proposed by Germany and Spain at the UN human rights council was stripped of references that recognized access to water as a human right. The countries also chose to scrap the idea of creating an international watchdog to investigate the issue, choosing instead to appoint a new consultant that would make recommendations over the next three years.
Mostly because if it's a right, then you can't charge for it. And, well, that would be bad.
Yes. Capitalism run by corporations is such a good idea. <\snark>
“Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams,” says John Merrick in the play The Elephant Man. He might have been speaking for the Boskops, an almost forgotten group of early humans who lived in southern Africa between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago. Judging from fossil remains, scientists say the Boskops were similar to modern humans but had small, childlike faces and huge melon heads that held brains about 30 percent larger than our own.
It's no mystery why the Boskops died off and the smaller brained survived. I bet our predecessors just thought those big-brained folks looked stupid and their smartypants ways were downright annoying. Ever seen a sixth-grade classroom? Something like that.
Songs my mother never used to sing and words not spoken in the presidential ring…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:45 PM Permalink
…(h/t to Homer and Jethro) It strikes me that there are things I still do not hear our democratic nominees addressing, such as:
The immediate restoration of the Great Writ of Habeas Corpus upon election. Passing a law or constitutional amendment to completely nullify "signing statements," so they get no consideration at all in court. A reaffirmation that the president will follow the law and subject her/himself to the rule of law in all circumstances. Completely stopping the use of torture by any person/s or agencies of the government. The elimination of bush's horrible doctrine of "first strike wars" and a return to a defensive posture only from our military. The immediate closing of Gitmo, every CIA black prison, and releasing the tens of thousands of Iraqis held illegally. A hugh reduction in unneeded defense spending and the application of that money to improve life, not perpetuate killing. Taking an America and Americans first attitude to aid our citizens first, anyone else second. A "Manhattan Project" style effort to fully develop alternative energy sources and put an end to the influence of OPEC.
What the hell am I saying? NONE of the candidates running for president will ever promise any of these things.
Once a power has been taken and exercised it takes real character and strength of will to let it go, and I'm not yet sure that Obama/Hillary have the moral fortitude and certainty to take these actions.
Only time will tell, but if Obama or Hillary is elected and they DON'T act on many of these subjects, I guess we will have our answer.
In the late summer of 1985, Kurt Parrott…was thrown from his motorcycle in Opelika, Ala. The buckle of his helmet failed, and he died when his bare head hit the pavement. Mr. Parrott’s mother sued the Italian company that made the helmet, and an Alabama court awarded her $1 million.
The company refused to pay. And last year, when lawyers for the Parrott family tried to collect in Italy, they were blocked by the Italian Supreme Court.
The court said that a peculiarity of American law — punitive damages — was so offensive to Italian notions of justice that it would not enforce the Alabama judgment.
Most of the rest of the world views the idea of punitive damages with alarm. As the Italian court explained, private lawsuits brought by injured people should have only one goal — compensation for a loss. Allowing separate awards meant to punish the defendant, foreign courts say, is a terrible idea.
Punishments, they say, should be meted out only by the criminal justice system, with its elaborate due process protections and disinterested prosecutors. It is not fair, they add, to give plaintiffs a windfall beyond what they have lost.[…]
Some common-law countries do allow punitive damages, though in limited circumstances and modest amounts. In the United States, by contrast, enormous punitive awards are relatively common, although they are often reduced or eliminated on appeal.
I have long wondered why Americans hold themselves forth as having the finest legal system in the world, so this article is an eye-opener.
It is sad, and a good bit more than disgusting, that American Civil Courts are held in such low regard internationally. Now we have compounded that by adding mistrust of our criminal courts with bush's twisted and sick views of torture.
How many other countries have refused to prosecute so-called terrorists for fear that the evidence was tainted by the use of torture?
When allies turn their back to us and refuse to prosecute prisoners turned over by American authorities, well, we have lost any and all remaining credibility we formerly enjoyed.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:04 PM Permalink
…John McLame stated in a lengthy speech on CNN this morning that we have a "moral responsibility to continue the war in Iraq."
That breaks down to "war is moral." Anyone thinking this way should don a uniform, go be moral in Iraq, and send the rest of the troops home - oh! I forgot, Republican's children serve their nation here at home and wouldn't dream of volunteering to do the grunt work for their country.
Every account of people who have inquired of college Republicans why they don't volunteer to go to war for America reveals that to be their answer, "More important ways to serve America than by fighting for it."
Someone with an urge to purge took it out on the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management office in downtown St. Paul, police said.
An unknown man defecated in several rooms Friday afternoon and left on foot before an officer arrived, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Tuesday. Based on the suspect's description, he appeared to be homeless, a police spokesman said.
It turns out the Homeland office wasn't too secure -- a contractor working for the building's management failed to properly secure a door behind him, said Susan Lasley, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Pubic Safety.
Congress set aside a record $2.3 billion in pet projects for colleges and universities last year for research on subjects like berries and reducing odors from swine and poultry, according to an analysis by The Chronicle of Higher Education to be published on Monday.
I'm assuming Congress' interest in reducing odors from swine is completely personal.
posted by The Vidiot @ 12:59 PM Permalink
(If we're to believe that number anyway. I, frankly, don't.)
If I were truly a word smith, I could write something beautiful and moving as a tribute to such a sad milestone, something that would give even the most avid warmonger pause. But that won't bring back any of those sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and friends. That wouldn't ameliorate the pain felt by those that knew them and loved them and who will miss them for as long as they live. That wouldn't erase those final moments of abject fear, pain and panic that those poor souls experienced as violence snatched them from this life. Nor would it restore the dignity, land, history, and the lives that have been lost by the Iraqi people, a people who suffered so much under one regime, only to suffer even more under another.
“Hands off please, Uncle Sam,” was the all to polite plea…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:57 PM Permalink
…from a leading Pakistani newspaper after Musharraf Pervez administered the oath of office to Yousaf Raza Gillani, Pakistan's newly elected prime minister.
It is quite obvious from the chilly reception of two American delegates, already on the scene to apply pressure against our "ally" to continue America's eternal war on terror, that this "visit" failed to have its desired effect. You know, the war that Americans and every country we can talk into, buy, or blackmail will be fighting forever.
In Islamabad, a somewhat stiff President Pervez Musharraf, wearing a business suit, administered the oath to Yousaf Raza Gillani, a longtime aide to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a bitter opponent of Mr. Musharraf who was assassinated in December.[…]
The new government has acted swiftly to reverse or counter some of Mr. Musharraf’s decisions. On Monday, in his first acts after being officially chosen by an overwhelming majority in Parliament, Mr. Gillani immediately released the judges detained by President Musharraf when he imposed emergency rule last year, and said he would seek a formal United Nations inquiry into the assassination of Ms. Bhutto.
The visiting American officials, Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard A. Boucher, met with Mr. Musharraf, whom the Bush administration has long considered a crucial ally in its campaign against terrorism. But his party was soundly rejected in recent elections, and the leaders of the new coalition government have said they intend to shift focus from military operations to negotiations in dealing with Islamic extremists in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.[…]
Mr. Sharif [another opponent of President Musharraf] had a strong message for the visiting officials on American pressure to fight the Islamic extremists. “It cannot be that while wishing to ensure peace for others our country is turned into a killing field,” Mr. Sharif said at a news briefing on Tuesday afternoon. “We want peace in America, but we also want a peaceful Pakistan.”
Referring to their discussion of plans to open talks with the militants, Mr. Sharif said: “I told them that situation has changed now. There is no more one-man show. Parliament has come into being, and the Parliament will decide all policies. No individual today can give a commitment on anything.”
Mr. Sharif and Mr. Zardari have both said that in order to stop the spate of suicide bombings in recent months, they intend to negotiate with the militants who are battling the Pakistan Army. [Negotiation! Why, what a marvelous idea! Why doesn't America a try it? Bill] Reports of American concerns over such overtures, as well as the Bush administration’s continued backing of Mr. Musharraf, despite the overwhelming rejection of his party by voters, have fueled a new level of Pakistani frustration with the United States.
The News, one of the country’s leading daily newspapers, published an editorial on Tuesday titled “Hands off please, Uncle Sam,” urging American leaders to “realize the need to give the democratic government in Pakistan time and space” to put in place a “thoughtful plan of action,” free of “any effort to intervene in their working or curtailing their right to independently decide what is best for Pakistan and its people.”
Omar. R Quraishi, op-ed. editor of The News, said in an interview that the American visit might send a negative message to Pakistanis, coming on the same day as the new prime minister’s inauguration. “I think they are here to ensure that Pakistan’s support in the war against terrorism is not jeopardized in any way,” he said. But military action by the Pakistani Army and missile strikes by the United States in the tribal areas of Pakistan have resulted in retaliatory suicide bombings in the cities, he said, adding, “People want an end to the suicide bombings.”
"…the American visit might send a negative message to Pakistanis, coming on the same day as the new prime minister’s inauguration…" is a statement that should rightfully shame every American, as it is a not so subtle reminder of the unpopularity of America, its leaders, and its so-called "diplomats" whom collectively do not exhibit any diplomatic skills or ability to negotiate with enemies or allies alike.
John Negroponte, architect of Latin American death squad regimes back in the eighties is the best we could find to send for "diplomatic efforts" with this government born anew? Personally, were I Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani I would view this sending of Negroponte a threat to both the security and safety of the Prime Minister, specifically, and Pakistanis, in general.
And the statement, "People want an end to the suicide bombings,” made in the context of American desires for further military action in Pakistan, simply demonstrates a growing world sentiment that America is not fighting against terrorists, but only fighting to expand American hegemony, regardless of who gets hurt.
The only terrorist attack on America in the last 7 years was the attack carried out by ELF, a long-listed terrorist organization based right here in America, an attack, needless to say, that the bush maladministration completely failed to detect and prevent even with all the "superpowers" he has assumed for himself.
In my opinion sending these two "diplomats" at the very time the new Prime Minister was being sworn in was a deliberate attempt by the bush maladministration to taint Gillani's new government with the stench of American politics right from the start.
And that is one powerful stench indeed.
SHORT NOTE: In case anyone noticed I haven't posted in a while, it was because of a horrible fall I had last week that left me twisted in agony for days. I've been telling people it was a Gerald Ford impersonation gone awry. Anyway, I can at least sit upright and open the lid on my laptop today, so it feels good to be back.
About two months went by after Jared Massey was tasered by a highway cop in Utah before he turned to YouTube. [...] Like other YouTube tasings, waves of outrage over excessive force followed — fire the cop, ban Tasers — and the police started an investigation a week and a half later. But the initial results were discouraging for the critics: The cop was cleared of wrongdoing; Mr. Massey paid the speeding ticket that he protested before being shocked twice. [...] The deal was announced a week after a Utah prosecutor ruled the Mr. Massey did not commit any crimes in the traffic stop, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. His civil case focused on the fact proven in the video — that the officer did not seek to arrest him before drawing and firing the Taser.
But wait, there's more!
The man who videotaped a St. George police officer's tirade against him last year, and put it online labeled "Cop Gone Wild," filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday over the incident. [...] The confrontation happened about 2 a.m. Sept. 7 in a commuter parking lot in south St. Louis County at Spokane and Reavis Barracks roads. Darrow, who runs his own painting business by day and attends community college at night, told a reporter last fall that he was there to meet a friend.
He also said that he installed a video camera in his Nissan Maxima after previous run-ins with police. [...] But [police Sgt. James Kuehnlein], who has since been fired, approached his car and began questioning him.
Darrow responded with queries of his own about the justification for the stop. He also asserted his Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. [...] Kuehnlein had Darrow step out of the car, pinned him against Darrow's car, then got in Darrow's face and shouted, "You wanna try me tonight? You think you've had a bad night? I will ruin your (expletive) night."
Darrow said no. Kuehnlein then suggests he could make up reasons to detain or arrest Darrow, the suit says. "Do you want to go to jail for some (expletive) reason I come up with?" [...] Darrow was released after about 18 minutes, the suit says, and never arrested. [...] Although Kuehnlein also claimed to be taping the encounter with his dash-mounted video camera, the tape has since been lost or destroyed.
Nothing pisses off a cop more than standing up for your rights, just make sure you get it on tape.
The Bush administration violated the public’s right to free speech by keeping protesters far removed from the 2005 inaugural parade, a judge ruled yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman found that the National Park Service violated its own regulations by giving the inauguration’s private organizers preferential treatment and extraordinary control over access to Pennsylvania Avenue. The Presidential Inaugural Committee roped off most of the parade route and allowed only those with tickets inside: largely a crowd of Bush administration donors, supporters and friends coming to celebrate the start of President Bush’s second term.
Protesters were limited to small, specific areas, leading to a lawsuit by antiwar activists.
“The inauguration is not a private event,” Friedman said in his ruling. “The National Park Service, on behalf of the PIC, cannot reserve all of Pennsylvania Avenue for itself, leaving only the Ellipse and the northern part of John Marshall Park to protesters.” [...] Friedman said the Park Service allowed the Presidential Inaugural Committee to apply almost a year ahead of anyone else for a permit, contrary to its usual regulations. It then granted the committee exclusive use of nearly all of the parade route from the Capitol to the White House and allowed the group to use the area for five months before Inauguration Day, instead of the typical three weeks.
See you can stand up for your rights, all it takes is lots of money and lots of time. Oh, and get it on tape.
Responsibility for this spectacular tragedy must lie with those who ignored the facts five years ago
The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a tragedy - for Iraq, for the US, for the UN, for truth and human dignity. [...] The elimination of weapons of mass destruction was the declared main aim of the war. It is improbable that the governments of the alliance could have sold the war to their parliaments on any other grounds. [...] Responsibility for the war must rest, though, on what those launching it knew by March 2003.
By then, Unmovic inspectors had carried out some 700 inspections at 500 sites without finding prohibited weapons. The contract that George Bush held up before Congress to show that Iraq was purchasing uranium oxide was proved to be a forgery. [...] They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist. Nor could they succeed in the declared aim to eliminate al-Qaida operators, because they were not in Iraq. They came later, attracted by the occupants. A third declared aim was to bring democracy to Iraq, hopefully becoming an example for the region. Let us hope for the future; but five years of occupation has clearly brought more anarchy than democracy. [...] In 1945 the US helped to write into the UN charter a prohibition of the use of armed force against states. Exceptions were made only for self-defence against armed attacks and for armed force authorised by the security council. In 2003, Iraq was not a real or imminent threat to anybody. [...] Washington and Moscow must begin nuclear disarmament. So long as these nuclear states maintain that these weapons are indispensable to their security, it is not surprising that others may think they are useful. What, really, is the alternative: invasion and occupation, as in Iraq?
It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.
It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.
The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.
Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.
He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.
The sign was quickly adopted by CND.
Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.
If you have some tinfoil handy, now might be a good time to fashion a hat. At the Digital Living Room conference today, Gerard Kunkel, Comcast’s senior VP of user experience, told me the cable company is experimenting with different camera technologies built into devices so it can know who’s in your living room.
The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.
Yeah, 'cause that's EXACTLY how it would be used...
posted by The Vidiot @ 3:54 PM Permalink
In an effort to maintain an interesting horse race between the dems and the repubs, MSM is now trying to pump up McCain.
Democrat Barack Obama's big national lead over Hillary Clinton has all but evaporated in the U.S. presidential race, and both Democrats trail Republican John McCain, according a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.
Of course, it’s hard to believe that he’s polling higher than Obama and Hillary. I mean, think about it. During the primaries, 40-50K dem voters would come out and like MAYBE 10K republican voters would show up. There’s just not that much support for the repubs out there. And for good reason. On top of that, the repubs are having a helluva time raising cash, the dems aren’t.
So, I think that it’s safe to say that Mr. Zogby is doing MSM’s bidding here and he’s trying to make McCain seem more relevant than he really is, just so MSM has something to talk about until November.
The winner this month of the Armstrong Williams School…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 3:19 PM Permalink
…of Propagandistic Stenographers Award goes to Kyra Philips of CNN, who else?
This morning she flatly stated, without qualification, that all the Iraqis whom she had interviewed were scared that if American troops did leave Iraq there would be a great increase in suicide bombings. So I went looking for what actual polls taken of Iraqis really say.
This week marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion in Iraq. While security has improved, there are growing concerns by both Iraqis and U.S. military officials that it will rise again in the near future. As has been widely noted, this lull in violence has not led to political progress. It also hasn’t led to an increase in services in Iraqis’ everyday lives.
McClatchy reports on these “worms in the water” five years after “liberation”:
To them, the real crime is that five years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they still swelter in the summer and freeze in the winter because of a lack of electricity. Government rations are inevitably late, incomplete or expired. Garbage piles up for days, sometimes weeks, emanating toxic fumes.
The list goes on: black-market fuel, phone bills for land lines that haven’t worked in years, education and health-care systems degraded by the flight of thousands of Iraq’s best teachers and doctors. […]
In some poor areas of Baghdad, militias or Iranian-backed charities have become the main source of propane tanks, food staples, garbage collection and other services that the government should provide.
A new poll for BBC, ABC, ARD and NHK finds that a majority of Iraqis think their lives are good, “more than at any time in the last three years.” Yet at the same time, 72 percent oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq and 61 percent believe that these troops are making the security situation worse. Additionally, 53 percent say that Bush’s “surge” has “made overall security worse.
So it's crystal clear that any reports coming from Iraq by CNN personnel really demonstrate that they have their finger on the pulse of Iraq, so much so that they know what is better for Iraq than Iraqis, and that they are able to speak for all Iraqis based upon informal interviews by a single reporter stenographer who is undoubtedly unqualified to conduct polls and determine margins of error, right?
Much better than empirical evidence when you're cheerleading the war that bush has said,"…is good for our economy," eh?
Why don't they just give her pom-poms and a catchy cheer, like, "Rah, rah, ree, let's bomb them to their knees! Rah, rah, rass, let's steal their oil to make our gas!"
I feel so much better and informed now, don't you?
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:55 AM Permalink
Here is a clear, bird's eye view of what the power elite really think. When told that 2/3s of the US think the Iraq war was not worth fighting, Dick Cheney said the following:
Which is Power-Elite Speak for "Let them eat cake!"
I can’t imagine for one minute that the government is going to allow the people to be armed. The US government is an occupying army, for all intents and purposes, and the first thing occupying armies do is go in and disarm the people. For obvious reasons.
Guests at Fox News now have more to worry about than Bill O’Reilly’s barking; there are also bed bugs biting. A senior vice president for operations and engineering at Fox News had nothing better to do yesterday than speak to the biased, freedom-hating New York Times about the situation, confirming that the Manhattan newsroom discovered the problem a few weeks ago, when an employee “caught a bug and showed it to us.”
Hiring partners and recruiting coordinators at Wachtell and S&C, it's time to break out the champagne:
CRAVATH HAS BEDBUGS!!!
Yes, that's right. The Worldwide Plaza headquarters of Cravath, Swaine & Moore -- perhaps the country's most prestigious law firm, and one of its most profitable -- has some unwelcome visitors. And no, 2L interview season ended months ago.
It’s clear that the Bush administration and Mr. Bernanke would welcome greater ownership of the nation’s financial institutions by foreign governments. That’s an effective short-term fix, and could conveniently avert a financial meltdown on their watch. But it also means a long-term transfer of a chunk of the future revenues of the American financial system to foreign governments.
So I reckon it won't be much longer until all our landlords and landowners will be Arabic or the Communist Chinese.
The Republicans didn't just sell out our economy with its reckless deregulation, it has sold, and is literally selling, our country right out from under our feet.
Has anyone every tried to evict the citizens of an entire country before? With Republicans there is a chance this could happen and give the Republicans the chance to "reduce the size of government until it can be drowned in a bathtub."
The main problem with this, of course, is that it will cause the baby (Americans) to be tossed out with the bath water.
So it's time for us all to accept, "…it also means a long-term transfer of a chunk of the future revenues of the American financial system to foreign governments."
And we have the Republicans and bush to thank for this mess.
Captain Ahab bush promises to catch the Great White Whale…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:37 PM Permalink
…of our economy, no matter the cost of failed banks, holding companies, and the fact that he wouldn't recognize the Great White Whale if it jumped up onto the deck of the ship.
As if to prove his fearlessness Captain Ahab has weighted down his ship with trillions of dollars of lost home equity, a black hole of an Oil War in Iraq, he has fired the cooler, calmer heads helping to run his Ship of State that were constantly trying to bail Ahab out of trouble and preventing Ahab from getting into yet another useless war to stop his fictitious competition from getting the hide of that Great White Whale.
"The Great White Whale is strong, and its fundamentals are even stronger. I have been pursuing this whale for the last seven years, but it somehow remains elusively beyond my grasp. I have ordered my ship's armory to devise a nuclear harpoon that will spell certain doom for that whale, and it will mean we will all incur scurvy as we reduce the crew's food to the bare minimum so that I can keep up the strength of my officers, the ones that allowed me to start this pursuit and the ones that will benefit personally from the harpooning of the beast," the Captain said. "I have also done my best to fire all those who would resist my reckless venture and have replaced them with the type of sycophantic crew members who will back up everything I say or do, and believe me, I will be keeping them all extremely busy.
"The ship's quartermaster says we are out of money but not to worry, there are several Chinese stealth submarines following my ship at all times, I presume so that they may share the glory of finally whittling that whale down to the size where it may be drowned in a bathtub, and they have generously financed my expedition with billions and billions and billions…uh…how many billions? Too many billions to count, all in an effort to see that I bring down that Great White Whale of our economy to its non-existent knees. Then I'll allow the Chinese to pick bare the bones of the whale, exposing the skeleton underneath that is insufficiently strong to bear the weight of our economy.
"And just for fun, and because I prefer to minimize people by giving them nicknames instead of addressing them by their real names, I'm gonna call all of y'all Ismael, and your all going to like it or walk the plank, with the poorest of you going first, followed by the sick and infirm, as usual, and then we might throw in a banker or two who doesn't want to join me on this futile hunt for the Great White Whale economy and that instead want to actually help. Imagine that. If we help out the poor people they will only go on wild shopping sprees for nonsense like food, medicines, education, health care and all that other stuff swallowed up by the Great White Whale economy.
"And this despite the fact that it was me alone that started this policy of pursuing Whales of Mass Destruction, it's my idea, and I don't want Bernanke or Paulson to try and take any credit when I have finally killed the beast and spurred the collapse of the skeletal structure of the Great White Whale economy. Fools, damn fools, all of them and I hereby swear and avow that I will do as much damage as I can in the pursuit of the beast and destroy it with my own hands! And maybe a nuclear harpoon or two.
"Is that the sound of water coming in over the bow?"
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:50 AM Permalink
We watched both versions of the “Life After People” shows, the one on the History channel and the one on National Geographic. Both were interesting. However, one thing we noticed: The History channel’s version didn’t say anything bad about nuclear power plants. Basically, they only mentioned that safety mechanisms would kick in and safely shut down the plants as the juice when off. The National Geographic one said that after the juice runs out, that means that the cooling baths would shut down, which would lead to a runaway overheating of the spent cores, causing a nuclear disaster in every single nuclear plant in the world and additionally, wherever spent rods were stored, creating dead zones around the area and spreading radiation all around the planet. High energy particles would spread first, causing an immediate die-off of the smaller animals and then long term particles would remain, causing problems for generations to come. Much more informative than the History channel’s version, no?
I always knew that the History channel was really the propaganda channel. I just never really knew how bad it was.
posted by The Vidiot @ 7:42 AM Permalink
Sequoia, the company that makes voting machines, is threatening to sue the guys from Princeton who are going to examine how secure the voting system is.
In a terse email sent last Friday, obtained today by The BRAD BLOG, Sequoia's Edwin Smith, Vice-President of Compliance/Quality/Certification, warns the university academics that the company has "retained counsel to stop any infringement of our intellectual properties, including any non-compliant analysis."
"We will also take appropriate steps to protect against any publication of Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same or any other infringement of our intellectual property," Smith threatens.
Really? Not allowed to report on the system’s behavior?
If the threat of this lawsuit isn’t a enormous sign saying, “Don’t look here ‘cause we don’t want you to find out out what we’re doing” then I don’t know what is.
Union County has backed off a plan to let a Princeton University computer scientist examine voting machines where errors occurred in the presidential primary tallies, after the manufacturer of the machines threatened to sue, officials said today.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:28 PM Permalink
…is crystal clear. Our banks are failing, our economy is in the toilet, trillions of dollars of home equity has vanished to be followed by even greater losses to come, home foreclosures at record highs, so what does our government do?
Bail out the mega-wealthy with billions and billions of dollars borrowed from our now primary bankers, the Communist Chinese.
Hoping to avoid a systemic meltdown in financial markets, the Federal Reserve on Sunday approved a $30 billion credit line to engineer the takeover of Bear Stearns and announced an open-ended lending program for the biggest investment firms on Wall Street.
In a third move aimed at helping banks and thrifts, the Fed also lowered the rate for borrowing from its so-called discount window by a quarter of a percentage point, to 3.25 percent.
The moves amounted to a sweeping and apparently unprecedented attempt by the Federal Reserve to rescue the nation’s financial markets from what officials feared could be a chain reaction of defaults.[…]
Affirming that “our financial institutions are strong and that our capital markets are functioning efficiently and effectively,” Mr. Bush added: “In the long run, our economy is going to be fine. Right now we’re dealing with a difficult situation.” [This takes the cake for the "Stupid Things said by Bush" tally. Bill][…]
Monetary policy experts said they were stunned by the sweeping nature of the Fed’s efforts, which they said were unprecedented in a host of different ways. But some were doubtful about whether the moves would solve the underlying problem of huge losses from bad lending practices.
“Emergency provision of loans is necessary but not sufficient,” said Lawrence H. Summers, who was a Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton. “There is a fundamental issue, which is that the financial system is short of capital and is under pressure to contract.”
I certainly seems that a particular American conceit has led us down the proverbial primrose path, and that conceit is the no longer valid assumption that America is still the richest and most powerful country in the world.
Nope. We're the biggest debtor nation on the planet, our country is being sold right out from beneath us, the folly of bush's OIL Wars is breaking our military, and when it comes time to really pay the piper we will be unable to do so.
Were it not for our nuclear arsenal deterrent I think several other nations would have already attacked us and relegated our infant nation to oblivion.
So it should come as no surprise that the people who need financial help because of their own malfeasance and mismanagement, the bankers, will receive untold billions, possibly trillions, to safeguard their businesses while all the "little people" who need help can go starve as far as the Rethugs are concerned.
And is anyone else besides me thoroughly sick of hearing "how strong our economy and financial institutions" are?
The rich, rich, rich will always bitch, bitch, bitch
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:47 PM Permalink
Since I read this post by our very own The Vidiot (accept no imitations or substitutes) from last Friday, a posting regarding Bloomberg of New York making the usual Rethug claims that if taxes go up on the rich the rich will get going and desert the markets in which they made their fortunes.
Raising taxes on the city's wealthiest residents will simply send them packing, Mayor Bloomberg warned yesterday as he denounced a plan to impose a higher income tax on those earning $1 million or more. "If you were to raise taxes on a particular group of people, their alternative is moving out of the city and taking with them all of the revenues they generate, their businesses and everything else," the billionaire mayor said.
This statement really seemed off to me, and it is only this morning that I realized why.
As I said above, why would millionaires and billionaires desert the very markets that afforded them the opportunity to make their fortunes? Doesn't this seem childish beyond belief? It's like a kid who's won 6,754 marbles playing in New York, but because he or she loses 2,754 marbles in taxes the kid will leave New York forever for climes less green and fruitful? Or move to a market where it would be impossible to accumulate that many marbles?
I call b.s. on this fallacy that the rich will leave the very markets where they made their fortunes, at great expense and inconvenience, and that would consume much more money than a simple return to the amount of taxes being paid pre-bush. And with absolutely no guarantee of future success after leaving their money-trees behind for less secure and stable markets.
The Rethugs sold America a bill of goods. They have overseen the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in the history of man (with the possible exception of the Catholic Church, where at least they are honest enough to wear their golden robes and eat and drink from gold and silver chalices while staring admiringly at the gazillion dollars of artwork they have…uh…acquired by means known only to church insiders).
This bill of Rethug goods has bankrupted this country, destroyed our economy, broken our banking systems, and they STILL want ever more.
I say raise the taxes back to levels that will mean actual help for the least amongst us and that if the Rethugs want to pick up their marbles and abandon some of the formerly greatest money-generating markets, LET THEM.
You could bet your last dollar that new wanna-be entrepreneurs and up and coming millionaires and billionaires will happily take over every single business niche that made those that preceded them enormously wealthy if they follow through on their scare-mongering threats to leave the places where they acquired their own wealth.
If I promise you the Moon and the Stars, Would you believe it?
posted by The Sailor @ 10:29 AM Permalink Children, if you don't stop that squabbling I'm going to turn this car around!
OK, enough snark, here's the point; The widening divide between Hillary and Obama supporters apparently has some on both sides saying they would refuse to vote, or even worse, they would vote for McCain if their candidate wasn't the Dem nominee.
Get over it, we never get the candidate we want!
So sit down, take a deep breath, and ask yourself this; what's worse for the country? 4 more f**king years of bushco policy that has already killed 4,000 Americans and 1 million+ Iraqi civilians in an illegal war, or either Dem candidate as president?
You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what we need. And we need anyone but Bush III.
To close with a ringing endorsement; Vote for a Democrat, they suck less.
And, surprise, surprise, surprise ... rethuglicans are responsible:
Ohio's revised election code includes an election falsification clause (Revised Code 3513.20), which says that if a voter who changes parties is challenged by poll workers as to the sincerity of his change of heart and also signs an affidavit stating that he supports the principles of the party to which he's changing -- when in fact he doesn't support them -- then he would be committing election falsification. Election falsification is a felony that is punishable by six to twelve months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
It's clear that cross-over voting occurred in large numbers in Ohio this year. The Ohio secretary of state's office doesn't have statistics yet on how many voters crossed parties in the primary (it's still compiling them), but the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that in Cuyahoga County alone, the state's largest county, at least 16,000 Republicans switched parties for the primary.
Of course they'll never be prosecuted because IOKIYAR!
The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20, sometimes called simply "Executive Directive 51" for short), signed by United States President George W. Bush on May 4, 2007, is a Presidential Directive which specifies the procedures for continuity of the federal government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency." Such an emergency is construed as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." [...] The directive specifies that, following such an emergency, an "Enduring Constitutional Government," comprising "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government," coordinated by the President of the United States, will take the place of the nation's regular government, presumably without the oversight of Congress. Conservative activist Jerome Corsi and Marjorie Cohn of the National Lawyers Guild have interpreted this as a break from Constitutional law in that the three branches of government are equal, with no single branch coordinating the others. [...] The signing of this Directive was generally not covered by the mainstream U.S. media or discussed by the U.S. Congress. [...]It is unclear how the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive will reconcile with the National Emergencies Act, a U.S. federal law passed in 1976, which gives Congress oversight over presidential emergency powers during such emergencies. [...] After receiving concerned communications from constituents, in July 2007 U.S. Representative and Homeland Security Committee member Peter DeFazio made an official request to examine the classified Continuity Annexes described above in a secure "bubbleroom" in the United States Capitol, but his request was denied by the White House, which cited "national security concerns." This was the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents.
Did you get the "Such an emergency is construed as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions" part? The 'emergency' doesn't have to take place in the US, tho it might.
Considering their track record, it's impossible to consider that anything is out of bounds for these bastards.
A quick side note on McLame's hypocrisy. In the same article at the top he also castigated fellow Senate members for "not responding to the will of the people."
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:49 PM Permalink
sparked by this WaPo article, "House Passes New Surveillance Bill":
The House on Friday narrowly approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government's eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States.
The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213 to 197, largely along party lines.
Because of the promised veto, "this vote has no impact at all," said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
The president's main objection is that the bill does not protect from lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government to eavesdrop on their customers without a court's permission after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.[…]
Without that provision, House Republicans said, the companies won't cooperate with U.S. intelligence.
"We cannot conduct foreign surveillance without them. But if we continue to subject them to billion-dollar lawsuits, we risk losing their cooperation in the future," said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas.
The government does have the power to compel telecommunications companies to cooperate with wiretaps if it gets warrants from a secret court. The government apparently did not get such warrants before initiating the post-9/11 wiretaps, which are the basis for the lawsuits.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said the bill is meant to fix that. It would let a judge determine whether lawsuits should be dismissed, rather than having Congress make that decision.
"I believe that the nation is deeply concerned about what has gone on for the last seven years, and I want to restore some of the trust in the intelligence community," Reyes said.[…]
Then the House went off script. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to Bush's appeal, all but calling the president a liar.
"The president says Democrats in Congress should not be deceived. They are not deceived. They know the law. They know the Constitution. We understand our responsibility to protect the American people. What the President is trying to do is something that we think should be stopped," she said, adding, "I am stating a fact. The president is wrong, and he knows it."[…]
Republicans agreed the secret session proved to be deflating, not because of the quality of the evidence but because of the Democrats' unwillingness to listen. Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, said he referenced 25 different documents deemed secret, the lowest level of classification, but classified nonetheless.[…]
Republicans maintain that telecommunications firms must be granted strong, retroactive legal protections to guarantee their ongoing cooperation with intelligence efforts. They say the House legislation seeks to criminalize the intelligence community with unwarranted investigations and would add onerous levels of bureaucracy to wiretapping efforts that require split-second responses. [By now everyone knows that the government can start a "split-second response" phone tap and obtain a warrant at a later date, so NOTHING bush is stating is true. Bill]
Democrats counter that they cannot offer immunity without knowing precisely what actions they are forgiving. By turning the issue over to the courts, they said they have compromised with the White House's position. And they say they their [sic] legislation grants Bush all the authority he needs to conduct surveillance.
I am proud that House Democrats, unlike those in the Senate, have called a spade a spade, a liar a liar, and have refused to knuckle under to the Neanderthal, knuckle dragging, mouth-breathing Republicans who would bring back the Spanish Inquisition if they thought they could get away with it.
By the terms of the FISA laws bush does indeed have all the authority lawfully required to carry out surveillance and he knows it. This entire B.S. argument of bush and the Rethugs is simply to cover-up the wrongdoing of companies that have plenty of highly paid attorneys that should have advised them that what bush wanted immediately after 9/11 was illegal, but they voluntarily broke the law at the request of the most law-breaking president in history and they should not, therefore, get a free pass.
Chicken Little bush must by now be aware that Earth has not spun off its axis, no plagues have been visited upon America, except those imposed by Rethugs, that bush, with his magic surveillance powers could not and did not stop the ELF domestic terrorist attack in Washington state, and that telephone company cooperation may be had simply by getting the proper warrant.
Besides, at this late stage, it should be a new president with a new congress that should be deciding the course of the nation, not the same old people spouting the same old nonsense espoused by a GOP that cares not for anything but corporate profits and how to protect them at all cost, no matter how detrimental to our society, culture, and country.
It must be a terrible thing for a peoples to ignore the orders you bring…
posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:17 PM Permalink
From todays WaPo article titled, "Petraeus: Iraqi Leaders Not Making 'Sufficient Progress,'" which I know shocks our government that they can't force people, even at the business end of a gun, to adopt a democratic form of government or follow the specious orders of the American military which, a bare 200-years old, just doesn't understand anything about the Middle East:
Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political differences, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said Thursday.
Petraeus, who is preparing to testify to Congress next month on the Iraq war, said in an interview that "no one" in the U.S. and Iraqi governments "feels that there has been sufficient progress by any means in the area of national reconciliation," or in the provision of basic public services.
Far be it from me to call the General an outright liar, but he is an outright liar if he believes this ridiculous assumption.
Ask any Republican, bush, cheney, John McLame, John Boehner, or any other GOP or neocon member of the House or Senate and they will look you right in the eye and tell you how good things are going in Iraq, that we are winning there, and that it won't be long before we steal their oil and use American Armed Forces to guard the oil wells and profits therefrom for Exxon-Mobil for the next thirty years. [Well, they probably won't actually confess to murder, genocide, illegal wars of aggression, and all the war crimes bush has had American soldiers carry out.]
Republicans don't give a damn about the welfare of our troops and will gladly sacrifice any number of them to increase and safeguard the profits of the most profitable corporation in the world. The hell with military families, what's right, what's wrong, how long it takes, how much it weakens or destroys our military, or what they have to do, by means fair or foul, to steal a finite oil source.
It's just what they gotta do, no matter how many Iraqis they have to kill: men, women, children, all of them if necessary.
It's the Neocon GOP, Conservative, Republican way to attack and kill first and try to explain later with lies no one will believe.
posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:19 PM Permalink
From today's NYT, in an article artfully titled, "Inflation Held Steady in February," which as far as I can see here in California is total nonsense:
Inflation held steady in February as consumers prices stayed flat, the government said on Friday, taking some pressure off the Federal Reserve as it considers a new round of interest rate cuts.
The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in February as the cost of gasoline and automobiles declined. The closely watched core index, which excludes the prices of volatile food and energy products, also stayed flat.
The inflation report comes as a relief after several months of steadily building price pressures. With the economy in a significant downturn, and possibly a recession, some had feared a repeat of 1970s-style stagflation. Inflation rose 0.4 percent in January and December, and economists had been bracing for another uptick last month.
Instead, the Labor Department report showed price declines for clothing, transportation-related products, personal computers and commodities. The fall-off came despite a record-low dollar and a rise in the price of imports.
Where do people accumulate the sheer unmitigated gall to print things such as this that are absolutely untrue? Oh, they may have a magic list showing no increases in the prices of eye of newt and toe of frog, but I gotta tell you that prices on everything else is skyrocketing in California. (Of course bush did not win in California, has previously refused government help to California [can you say Enron and electric power price manipulation?], and he could not care less if California fell off into the ocean.)
Gasoline is much higher, $5.00 a gallon in some California locales; it cost my son over $36.00 to fill-up his Ford Focus!
Food, clothing, and everyday things needed is following the increases for fuel that must be paid by shipping companies, and the retailers aren't hesitating to pile on the additional costs. How convenient to omit many of the price increases for commodities from their report, which requires a secret decoding ring to figure out.
Just looking at the vast difference in exchange rates, greatly cheapening American goods for anyone not carrying dollars, dictates that products coming in from overseas will have to sell at much higher prices in order for those shipping foreign products to make a profit.
Milk, bread, meat, vegetables, and all other foodstuffs have been going up in price by hugh percentages. I estimate we are now purchasing about two-thirds of the food we used to buy for the same money due to the rising costs. Even soda, beer, wine, and other beverages have gone up by two or three dollars per item.
Clothing is going up out of sight as is everything else.
On what planet do these so-called financial analysts live? And why are they telling tales that anyone who does their own shopping knows are blatantly untrue?
It is no wonder that the dollar has lost it's luster. If it loses even more value it won't be long before the world rejects our currency for the worthless paper it has become under Republican rule and opt for payments for oil and such in Euros, Canadian dollars, Chinese or Japanese yen, or Mexican pesos.
But never fear! The Republicans stand ready to reduce taxes and devalue our money even further.
In my mind this devaluation and destruction of our economy has been a Republican goal ever since bush was appointed president and decided with his neocon buddies that he would use America's armies, previously defensive in nature, to go on offense with the intention of conquering the world and seizing its natural resources.
We all see how good illegal wars work out.
And, coincidentally, this reckless and feckless spending prevents using our tax dollars to actually benefit the taxpayers.
Raising taxes on the city's wealthiest residents will simply send them packing, Mayor Bloomberg warned yesterday as he denounced a plan to impose a higher income tax on those earning $1 million or more.
"If you were to raise taxes on a particular group of people, their alternative is moving out of the city and taking with them all of the revenues they generate, their businesses and everything else," the billionaire mayor said.
Uh, Mr. Bloomberg? If you raise taxes on regular folks, they'll leave too and there's way more of us than there are of you. Though, that could be Bloomberg’s ultimate plan. He’s already done his level best to “clean up this city” and make more like Disney World. Bloomberg never could stand the grit and grime of this town. I’m sure that, before he was mayor, he’d grouse and complain and said, “If I were in charge, I’d make the taxis prettier, make the bus stands prettier, make the magazine stands prettier, get rid of those old ugly brownstones and put up some nice, clean buildings.” etc. and so forth.
posted by The Vidiot @ 10:21 AM PermalinkFirst, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that inflation is hovering around 3-4%
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in February before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The February level of 211.693 (1982-84=100) was 4.0 percent higher than in February 2007.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 0.2 percent in February prior to seasonal adjustment. The February level of 207.254 (1982-84=100) was 4.4 percent higher than in February 2007.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in February on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The February level of 122.251 (December 1999=100) was 3.7 percent higher than in February 2007. Please note that the indexes for the post-2006 period are subject to revision.
"The price of flour today is about four times the amount of price that it was in August, and it's going up on a weekly basis," says >Moshe Hecht, co-owner of the Schwartz Bakery and Cafe in Los Angeles. "But it's not only flour that it's affecting. It's also affecting eggs, oil, and everything that goes along with it" in producing baked goods.
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.