Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The well-organized well-funded Christian Right Reconstructionists are whittling away the US Constitution.
“All governments are theocracies. We now live in a secular humanist theocracy. I want to change that to a government with God at its head.”
SBC Takeover Leaders and the CNP
If anyone doubts that an organization exists that coordinates strategic objectives for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) takeover leaders, Christian Reconstructionists, Dominionists and other Religious Right leaders, they ought to do some research on the Council for National Policy (CNP).
More here at Talk To Action and a summary here and Ethics Daily.
Everything that needs to be known is now known: The reasons the Bush Administration gave for the American war in Iraq were all falsehoods or deceptions, and every day the US occupation continues deepens the very problems it was supposed to solve. Therefore there can no longer be any doubt: The war--an unprovoked, unnecessary and unlawful invasion that has turned into a colonial-style occupation--is a moral and political catastrophe. As such it is a growing stain on the honor of every American who acquiesces, actively or passively, in its conduct and continuation. ....
And to those Democratic "leaders" who continue to insist that the safer, more electable course is to remain openly or silently complicit in the war, we say, paraphrasing the moral philosopher Hillel: If not now, when? If not you, who?
Diebold decided to cut and run apparently because it was afraid that the back door it created that allows tampering might be discovered.
As a Diebold insider confirmed in September.
The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could [sic: allow] a local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The Right blogosphere is having orgasms over a short mention in the WP that Cheney's and the GOP pushback on Iraq is working.
Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt "a lot," according to a poll taken by RT Strategies. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale.Cue the orgasmic gasps from the right.
Just three of 10 adults accept that Democrats are leveling criticism because they believe this will help U.S. efforts in Iraq. A majority believes the motive is really to "gain a partisan political advantage."
Most surveys have shown significant majorities believe it was a mistake to go to war, as well as rising sentiment that Bush misled Americans in making the case for it.
Even so, there is still support for Bush's policy going forward. A plurality, 49 percent, believe that troops should come home only when the Iraqi government can provide for its own security, while 16 percent support immediate withdrawal, regardless of the circumstances.
Why would they ask that question? No one should be leveling criticism because they believe it will help the war effort. Criticism is to end the invasion. Bring our men and women home now!
The whole premise of this poll is flawed. Simply believing that criticizing the war affects troop morale is not the same thing as believing that criticism shouldn't be aired.
The article as well as the poll is misleading in several ways - for example in the article did you see the result that 46% of those polled want us out either immediately or via a timetable and 49% say withdraw as the Iraqi government meets specific goals and objectives. - PDF. Wait a minute - everyone agrees we need to to get out and half don't care how the Iraqi government is doing!
The supposedly new bipartisan polling outfit seems to only do GOP polling and no one recognizes the supposed Democrat except that he worked for conservative Democratic pollsters.
Could the poll be right? Are we harming morale?
War based on a lie
Weapons of mass destruction? I'm still looking for them, and if you find any give me a call so we can justify our presence in Iraq. We started the war based on a lie, and we'll finish it based on a lie. I say this because I am currently serving with a logistics headquarters in the Anbar province, between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. I am not fooled by the constant fabrication of "democracy and freedom" touted by our leadership at home and overseas.
This deception is furthered by our armed forces belief that we can just enter ancient Mesopotamia and tell the locals about the benefits of a legislative assembly. While our European ancestors were hanging from trees, these ancient people were writing algebra and solving quadratic equations. Now we feel compelled to strong-arm them into accepting the spoils of capitalism and "laissez-faire" society. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Britney Spears on MTV and driving to McDonald's, but do you honestly believe that Sunnis, Shias and Kurds want our Western ideas of entertainment and freedom imposed on them? Think again.
I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic. The reality in Iraq is that the United States created a nightmare situation where one didn't exist. Yes, Saddam Hussein was an evil man who lied, cheated and pillaged his own nation. But how was he different from dictators in Africa who commit massive crimes again humanity with little repercussion and sometimes support from the West? The bottom line up front (BLUF to use a military acronym) is that Saddam was different because we used him as an excuse to go to war to make Americans "feel good" about the "War on Terrorism." The BLUF is that our ultimate goal in 2003 was the security of Israel and the lucrative oil fields in northern and southern Iraq.
Weapons of mass destruction? Call me when you find them. In the meantime, "bring 'em on" so we can get our "mission accomplished" and get out of this mess.
Capt. Jeff Pirozzi
Camp Taqaddum, Iraq
Published in the Stars and Stripes undoubtedly due to us Democrats.
The GOP has been pushing hard on the press to make it seem like there is bipartisan corruption right now. The media has been making laughable comparisons. Send him the most laughable.
DeLay defends Cunningham
A tearful, trembling Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe) resigned Monday after pleading guilty to receiving $2.4 million in bribes from military contractors and evading more than $1 million in taxes.
George W. Bush began his sadistic career by exploding frogs with firecrackers.
"'We were terrible to animals,' recalled [Bush childhood friend] Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out. `Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,' [Bush buddy Terry] Throckmorton said. `Or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.'" -- The New York Times, May 21, 2000 (archived at MakeThemAccountable.com)
He advanced to shooting his siblings with BB guns.
"Even though George W. Bush is president, Neil Bush can still see in him the 16-year-old who gave him and his younger brother 10 seconds to start running down the hall before firing BB pellets at them." -- Utah County Daily Herald, March 2, 2002 (archived at MakeThemAccountable.com)
Graduated to branding fraternity pledges at Yale.
Bush was quoted in the New York Times defending the branding of fraternity pledges with a hot coat hanger, saying the resulting wounds resembled "only a cigarette burn" Washington Post, July 27, 1999
He developed an alcohol and drug problem with at least four alcohol related arrests.
On January 19, 1968, Bush completed the Air Force officer qualifications test in New Haven while he attended Yale University. Although he scored 25%, the lowest possible passing grade, and had a record of arrests (2 misdemeanors, 2 collisions, 2 drunk driving citations), on the same day he applied he was accepted into the "Champagne Unit," where the sons of the politically well-connected trained. He jumped to the head of the line of 160 Texas applicants for two available pilot training slots, neatly avoiding a year and half on the waiting list. Lucky for him, because his draft deferment would have expired in twelve days. Former Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes later admitted recommending George W. Bush for a slot in the Texas Air National Guard at the request of a Bush family friend.
The Progressive Southerner, February 2, 2004, describes "George W. Bush’s Lost Year in 1972 Alabama":
"Many of those who came into close contact with Bush say he liked to drink beer and Jim Beam whiskey, and to eat fist-fulls of peanuts, and Executive burgers, at the Cloverdale Grill. They also say he liked to sneak out back for a joint of marijuana or into the head for a line of cocaine.
In the 11/2/00 press conference, Bush lied about his driver's license suspension, following his DUI arrest, claiming it was suspended for only “30 days” (Washington Post, 11/28/00), when it was actually suspended for 2 years (Maine Department of Motor Vehicles). According to the state of Maine ’s 1976 statutes for DUI suspensions, a two-year suspension indicates the presence of two earlier DUI arrests (Maine Legislative Reference Librarian, 207-287-1600).
Two prior non-DUI arrests involve alcohol. The first arrest of George W. Bush was for theft at a hotel while drinking with friends. The second arrest was for disorderly conduct at a football game.
26 year old George W. Bush, visiting his parents in Washington, D. C. over the Christmas vacation in 1972 shortly after the death of his grandfather, taking his 16 year old brother Marvin out drinking. On the way home, George lost control of the car and ran over a garbage can, but continued home with the can wedged noisily under the car. When his father, George H. W. Bush, called him on the carpet for not only his own behavior but for exposing his younger brother to risk, George W., still under the influence, retorted angrily, "I hear you're looking for me. You wanna go mano a mano right here?"
According to LAPD whistleblower Michael C. Ruppert, the Drug Enforcement Agency has in its possession a video of George W. Bush and Jeb Bush flying in to Tamiami Airport outside of Miami, Florida "to pick up a couple of kilos of powder for a party." (From the Wilderness Newsletter; $35 / yr; FTW Publications, PO Box 6061-350, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413).
Book: Bush was arrested for cocaine in 1972 Texas author J.H. Hatfield claims the Republican front-runner did community service at a Houston black disadvantaged youth center.
Three sources told biographer J. H. Hatfield that Bush was performing community service on the orders of a judge. A Yale classmate said, "George W. was arrested for possession of cocaine in 1972, but due to his father's connections, the entire record was expunged by a state judge whom the older Bush helped get elected. It was one of those 'behind closed doors in the judges' chambers' kind of thing between the old man and one of his Texas cronies who owed him a favor ... There's only a handful of us that know the truth."
If the record of an arrest was expunged, Bush apparently received the equivalent of Youthful Offender status at the age of 26.
Another Bush associate told Hatfield, "I can't and won't give you any new names, but I can confirm that W's Dallas attorney remains the repository of any evidence of the expunged record. From what I've been told, the attorney is the one who advised him to get a new drivers license in 1995 when a survey of his public records uncovered a stale, but nevertheless incriminating trail for an overly eager reporter to follow."
First he refused to confirm or deny it. Later he would say only that "when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Next he said that the issue wasn't relevant. Then he said that he wouldn't address "rumors." Then he said that he could pass a standard security check dating back seven years. Finally, he said that he could've passed the security check in his father's White House -- fifteen years. Though he had to think before specifying whether he could've passed it then or now.
Skips out on National Guard Duty
In a fitness report supplement released by the White House this year, an administrative officer wrote, “Not rated for the period 1 May 72 through 30 Apr 73. Report for this period not available for administrative reasons.” In the remarks section, Killian wrote that Bush “has not been observed at this unit during the period of report."
He became an irritable dry drunk.
This 1988 public threat and verbal assault on Wall Street Journal's bureau chief, Al Hunt, after Mr. Hunt predicted a 1988 GOP failure for his father. According to the Washington Post (7/25/99), Mr. Bush cursed at Mr. Hunt in a restaurant, in front of his wife and four-year-old son: "You f**king son of a bitch! I saw what you wrote! We're not going to forget this."
He progressed to taunting prisoners before they were lethally injected.
"George [Bush] tells [conservative commentator Tucker] Carlson that he watched the Larry King interview with [condemned murderess Karla Faye] Tucker while she was on death row. Bush says, `(King) asked her real difficult questions like, "What would you say to Governor Bush?"' `What was her answer?" Carlson asks. Bush `whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation....Please...don't kill me,' Bush says, pretending to be Karla Baye [sic] Tucker. `I must (have) looked shocked,' Carlson writes, `ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush--because he immediately stops smirking.'" -- Jerry Politex, August 15, 1999
Then he became president.
On Sept. 12, 2000, Baltimore Sun reporter Miriam Miedzian wrote, "So when he was a kid, George W. enjoyed putting firecrackers into frogs, throwing them in the air, and then watching them blow up. Should this be cause for alarm? How relevant is a man's childhood behavior to what he is like as an adult? And in this case, to what he would be like as president of the United States."
We found out.
Abramoff used DeLay to fund anti-intifada militia
Abramoff, in the late 1990s, set up a pro-Israel charity front called the Capital Athletic Foundation. Sounds jovial enough. "The pitch . . . was hard to resist," Michael Isikoff reported for Newsweek last summer, "a good way to get access on Capitol Hill, he told his clients . . . was to contribute to [his] worthy charity . . . [which] was supposed to provide sports programs and teach 'leadership skills' to city youth. Donating to it also had a side benefit, Abramoff told his clients: it was a favored cause of Rep. Tom DeLay."
So Abramoff dangled a carrot in front of his clients, advising them to donate to his philanthropic venture. Why not, it was for a good cause. Plus, he boasted, it would buy them access to Rep. Tom DeLay. It may indeed have bought them access, but what Abramoff's customers didn't realize was that a large portion of their money would never be spent on gearing up inner city kids to shoot some b-ball -- rather, their dollars were shipped overseas to help arm Israeli settlers in the occupied territories.
More than $140,000 of the foundation's funds, reports Newsweek, was used to purchase sniper scopes, night-vision binoculars, camouflage suits, thermal imagers and other materiel which Abramoff's foundation called "security" equipment.
Newsweek also reports "these payments are part of a larger investigation to determine if Abramoff defrauded his Indian tribe clients." Not surprisingly Abramoff's ex-clients are fuming.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Recent fire off 225 prompts questions.
State Rep. candidate Janette Sexton is a member of this and I'll ask her more.
Janette Sexton is also having a fundraiser this Saturday just after she files.
Democratic Candidate for State Representative
Saturday, December 3, 2005
From 7:00pm – 8:30pm
At The Latino Learning Center
3522 Polk Street
Houston, TX 77003
The Latino Learning Center is located at the intersection of Scott and Polk, just east of downtown Houston.
* Live Musical Entertainment!
* Light Refreshments!
* Candidate Q&A!
* Social Hour!
Janette Sexton is a socially progressive, fiscally accountable candidate who will stand up for TRUE democratic ideals and bring a fresh perspective to the Texas legislature. Your involvement and donations will help us raise the funds necessary to drive out a divisive Republican incumbent
who has failed to represent the interests of the people of District 144.
We encourage you to come mingle with fellow activists & help get our campaign going!
For more information about the Janette Sexton campaign visit our website at www.sexton4district144.com
The New Yorker has a frightening piece on our President and Iraq.
Bush’s closest advisers have long been aware of the religious nature of his policy commitments. In recent interviews, one former senior official, who served in Bush’s first term, spoke extensively about the connection between the President’s religious faith and his view of the war in Iraq. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former official said, he was told that Bush felt that “God put me here” to deal with the war on terror. The President’s belief was fortified by the Republican sweep in the 2002 congressional elections; Bush saw the victory as a purposeful message from God that “he’s the man,” the former official said. Publicly, Bush depicted his reelection as a referendum on the war; privately, he spoke of it as another manifestation of divine purpose.
ADDED - Rove instructed his secretary to not log reporter calls. This establishes a Libby-like pattern of evasion.
Mrs. Greenspan - well-paid GOP mouthpiece.
You will frequently find conservatives using Andrea Mitchell Greenspan as a source for "what a liar Ambassador Wilson" is comments. Chris Mathews, Tim Russert and Wolf Blitzer let her lies go unchallenged and the other pundits amplify them.
There is a good Newsweek and a bad Newsweek.
The ringleader of the bad Newsweek is dissected by Jane here at firedoglake: Let's Tell Mikey, He'll Print Anything.
John Amato expands on this: Michael Isikoff -- The Fred Astaire of Stenographic Reporting
I couple years ago I commented on Newsweek's alternating bias - an article sure to infuriate conservatives followed by an article to infuriate liberals.
1) Was the War on Terror and the subsequent invasion of Iraq a coincidence when Dr Hubbert's 1956 predictions are taken into account? Are US military incursions into oil-rich regions an attempt to check its mounting debts, protect its domestic industries and prevent the emergence of rival power bases? The US army has already triangulated the planet's oil belly from Incirlik (Turkey) to Manas (Kyrgyzstan) to Masirah (Oman).
2) If oil supply is prioritized to major powers, what will be the quid pro quo, if any, to lesser economic entities? Impoverishment and inflationary pressures inevitably lead to anarchy. Will these nations relinquish sovereignty to future regional super-states, carved between major powers? The evolving EU super-state provides a template.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
What he saw there lead to his suicide - LAT
A note found in his trailer seemed to offer clues. Written in what the Army determined was his handwriting, the colonel appeared to be struggling with a final question.
How is honor possible in a war like the one in Iraq?
In his 352-page dissertation, Westhusing discussed the ethics of war, focusing on examples of military honor from Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to the Israeli army. It is a dense, searching and sometimes personal effort to define what, exactly, constitutes virtuous conduct in the context of the modern U.S. military.
"Born to be a warrior, I desire these answers not just for philosophical reasons, but for self-knowledge," he wrote in the opening pages.
"He was sick of money-grubbing contractors," the official recounted. Westhusing said that "he had not come over to Iraq for this."
"I cannot support a msn [mission] that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars. I am sullied," it says. "I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored.
"Death before being dishonored any more."
One military officer said he felt Westhusing had trouble reconciling his ideals with Iraq's reality. Iraq "isn't a black-and-white place," the officer said. "There's a lot of gray."
Westhusing's family and friends are troubled that he died at Camp Dublin, where he was without a bodyguard, surrounded by the same contractors he suspected of wrongdoing. They wonder why the manager who discovered Westhusing's body and picked up his weapon was not tested for gunpowder residue.
Mostly, they wonder how Col. Ted Westhusing — father, husband, son and expert on doing right — could have found himself in a place so dark that he saw no light.
In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.
A brief review of The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001-2022, by Jonathan WestminsterAvailable at Amazon.
In 1996, Westminster envisioned that the sociopolitical trends launched in the postwar period would coagulate and merge into a tide of fascist ideology. He predicted that the political mobilisation of the right-wing of American society would result in the destruction of civil liberties, the bill of rights and the constitution by perfectly constitutional means. In so doing, Westminster has provided a detailed blueprint for the current Bush administration, which from many vantage points appears to be moving the United States inexorably in the direction of the fascist governments of the 1930s. Given the circumstances, it is clear that the present US adminsitration may yet fulfill The 15% Solution's core premise, a fascist takeover of US government by purely peaceful, legal and electoral means.
The war in Iraq is still in its early stages and US and British troops are likely to be bogged down in the conflict for decades, a report by the Oxford Research Group said on Wednesday.
The report by Professor Paul Rogers of Bradford University provides a detailed month-by-month assessment of the developing insurgency for a year between May 2004 and April this year.
It points to the growing numbers of civilian casualties, as well as the failure to control the insurgency, even with the use of overwhelming firepower, as with the assault on Fallujah last November, and concludes that the war in Iraq has been a ‘gift’ for al-Qaeda.
Iraq has become a magnet for young jihadists, replacing Afghanistan as a combat training zone, even to the extent that jihadists from that country now travel to Iraq to gain combat experience, taking their skills back to Afghanistan to use against western forces there, it says.
Contrary to some claims, the insurgency is not diminishing and it is likely to prove very difficult to withdraw all the British troops from Iraq unless there is a major change of policy by the British government, risking a break with the United States, says the report.
Rep. John Murtha is right when he says, “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home.”
Even if victory could somehow be achieved, it would be Pyrrhic given the costs and consequences. Moreover, it would only be a tactical victory at the expense of losing strategic position in the war on terrorism. What the Bush administration refuses to understand is that the U.S. military occupation in Iraq is part of the problem, not part of the solution. Therefore, the strategic imperative is to exit Iraq rather than stay. And although it is counterintuitive, exiting Iraq may be a prerequisite for victory.
Even if one is willing to believe President Bush’s promise of complete victory, substantially more boots on the ground are needed to have a fighting chance of achieving it. Historically, the force ratio for successful counterinsurgency operations is 20 soldiers per 1,000 inhabitants, which is what the British—often acknowledged as the most experienced practitioners of counterinsurgency operations and demonstrably more successful than the U.S. military—deployed for more than a decade in Malaya and more than 25 years in Northern Ireland. With a population of nearly 25 million people, to meet the same standard in Iraq would require a force of 500,000 troops—more than three times the current Iraq deployment of 150,000 soldiers and equal to the size of the entire active-duty U.S. Army which has already been strained by the current Iraq deployment of 150,000 troops—for perhaps a decade or longer.
Charles V. Peña is an adviser to the Straus Military Reform Project, senior fellow with the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy, and analyst for MSNBC. He is a co-author of Exiting Iraq: Why the United States Must End the Military Occupation and Renew the War against Al Qaeda and author of the forthcoming Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism.
The more we learn about the road to Iraq, the more we realize that it's a losing game to ask what lies the White House told along the way. A simpler question might be: What was not a lie?
If Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney believe they were truthful in the run-up to the war, it's easy for them to make their case. Instead of falsely claiming that they've been exonerated by two commissions that looked into prewar intelligence - neither of which addressed possible White House misuse and mischaracterization of that intelligence - they should just release the rest of the President's Daily Briefs and other prewar documents that are now trickling out. Instead, incriminatingly enough, they are fighting the release of any such information, including unclassified documents found in post-invasion Iraq requested from the Pentagon by the pro-war, neocon Weekly Standard. As Scott Shane reported in The New York Times last month, Vietnam documents are now off limits, too: the National Security Agency won't make public a 2001 historical report on how American officials distorted intelligence in 1964 about the Gulf of Tonkin incident for fear it might "prompt uncomfortable comparisons" between the games White Houses played then and now to gin up wars.
No debate about the past, of course, can undo the mess that the administration made in Iraq. But the past remains important because it is a road map to both the present and the future. Leaders who dissembled then are still doing so. Indeed, they do so even in the same speeches in which they vehemently deny having misled us then - witness Mr. Bush's false claims about what prewar intelligence was seen by Congress and Mr. Cheney's effort last Monday to again conflate the terrorists of 9/11 with those "making a stand in Iraq." (Maj. Gen. Douglas Lute, director of operations for Centcom, says the Iraqi insurgency is 90 percent homegrown.) These days Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney routinely exaggerate the readiness of Iraqi troops, much as they once inflated Saddam's W.M.D.'s.
"We're not going to sit by and let them rewrite history," the vice president said of his critics. "We're going to continue throwing their own words back at them." But according to a Harris poll released by The Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, 64 percent of Americans now believe that the Bush administration "generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends." That's why it's Mr. Cheney's and the president's own words that are being thrown back now - not to rewrite history but to reveal it for the first time to an angry country that has learned the hard way that it can no longer afford to be without the truth.
Only 5 million people, 3 million of them children, now collect welfare; GOP House plan will mandate 40-hour outside work week to collect
This is not a bad plan if some child care plan was provided.
Democrats and liberal advocacy groups charge that the harsher work rules are not backed up by the funding to subsidize child care. Moreover, the larger budget bill's cuts to food stamps and Medicaid could add still more financial pressure as welfare recipients transition to the ranks of the working poor.
Voters tangled in new ID law
So far, improper documents already have resulted in more than 12,000 people being turned away from registering in Maricopa and Pima counties since January. Though some of those would-be voters were able to return later with proper documentation, county elections officials say it is a sign that Arizonans do not understand the identification requirements.Even many older citizens drivers licenses are not acceptable as valid ID in a looming but GOP preferred disaster.
Pima County Registrar of Voters Chris Roads said 199 people were turned away just before Tucson's Nov. 8 municipal election because identification questions could not be resolved by the registration deadline.
Nonetheless, the identification rules were the best that Secretary of State Jan Brewer, Gov. Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Terry Goddard and the U.S. Department of Justice could agree on after lengthy negotiations. Supporters of Proposition 200 argued for the toughest measures possible.
Federal officials approved the plan despite objections by Roads and others that it could disenfranchise some voters.
"Republican Party leaders are very much in favor of the ID requirement . . . because of the view that this will impact Democratic voters more," Roads said. Yet when he explained at a recent GOP meeting that problems producing valid ID could affect voters of both parties, Roads said, "people were visibly shocked."
Tom Irvine, a Phoenix attorney who represents Democrats and Republicans in elections-related litigation, called the plan "an unmitigated disaster." He predicted a voter backlash and political fallout next year if many ballots go uncounted as a result.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
DeGuerin maintains that if no cash was amiss, the judge must dismiss. In other words, if money laundering by check was not legally defined in 2002, no money laundering occurred.
Chron.com | Letters: Murtha's motion to leave
Not over oil, controlPosted online Thanksgiving evening and published Friday and I found out Friday very late.
President Bush and his administration are turning victory into defeat! We went to war to remove Saddam Hussein from power and he is no longer in power. We went to war because of possible weapons of mass destruction and have found there aren't any. We went to war to bring democracy to the people of Iraq, and in a few weeks they will elect their new government. We have won. It is time to declare victory and go home.
I am proud of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., for addressing these issues. Our magnificent troops fought well; it is time they came home to their reward.
Already, 45 percent of Iraqis approve of attacks on coalition forces as occupiers. Over 80 percent have said we should leave next year; they think we are making the situation worse. I believe them. The longer we stay, the more we will be hated. By declaring victory and leaving, we show that we can go to war honorably and can leave with honor. To do otherwise is to confirm the claims that it was all about oil and control.
GARY DENTON Pasadena
We might have begun turning away from our nation's darkest days.
It now seems far clearer that the endless fallout from the fatal decision to invade Iraq is eating away at another agenda entirely, one that emerged from the domestic political wing of this administration -- from Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Tom DeLay and their ilk. This was the Republican desire to nail down the country as a purely red (as in red-meat) Republican land. The vetting of the K-Street lobbying crowd, the increasing control over the flow of corporate dollars into politics, the gerrymandering of congressional districts to create an election-proof House of Representatives, the mobilization of a religious base dedicated to an endless set of culture wars, the ushering in of a right-wing Supreme Court, and so many other activities were all meant to create an impregnable Republican Party in control of every lever of power in our country into an endless future.
The unfettered, imperial President and the unfettered, imperial Republican Party were joined at the hip by the attacks of September 11, 2001, which led to both the "war on terror" abroad and the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Department domestically. Had the Bush administration pursued both agendas, minus an invasion of Iraq, the two might have remained joined far longer. The crucial invasion decision, made almost immediately by the neocon war party backed by the President, was supported by White House Chief of Staff Andrew (""From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August") Card and Karl ("the architect") Rove, both of whom believed that a good war, well promoted and correctly wielded domestically, might drive a Republican agenda to eternal domination in America. None of them expected that it would prove to be the wedge driven between the two agendas.
“Everyone knew Tom DeLay was on the take from the day he arrived after the 1984 elections,” says Arnie Wilson, who lobbied Congress for the oil industry from 1974 through 1990. “He had his hand out the day he walked into his office.”
Elizabeth Hastings, who lobbied for health care from 1981 through 1992, remembers asking DeLay for support on an insurance bill in 1986.
“He gave me a laundry list of what he wanted for his vote,” Hastings says. “It included, of course, maximum contributions to his PAC plus a contribution to some obscure fund in Texas and an invitation to speak at our conference that year in Hawaii. He wanted us to fund the trip for himself, his family, and extend the stay for two weeks after our conference ended. I couldn’t afford that kind of commitment and he voted against the bill.”
Some members of Congress are subtle about what it takes to buy their vote. DeLay never was.
Friday, November 25, 2005
Bush and the GOP and their supporters are turning victory into defeat
We went to war to remove Saddam Hussein in power. He is no longer in power.
We went to war because of possible Weapons of Mass Destruction. We have found out there are no weapons of mass destruction.
We went to war to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. In a few weeks the people of Iraq will elect their new government.
We won. It is time to declare victory and go home.
Our magnificent troops fought well and have eliminated the threat of Saddam and many terrorists. It is time they came home to their reward.
Bush and the Republican party by insisting we stay there are turning our victory into a defeat. The longer we stay there the more we are viewed as occupiers, not saviors. Already 45% of Iraqis according to a British defense department survey approve of attacks on coalition forces as occupiers. Over 80% of Iraqis believe we should leave next year, we are making the situation worse. I believe them.
I call upon our elected representatives to declare victory and leave next year. We won, it is time to go home and celebrate our victory.
Instead of cutting and running as a defeat - staying is the defeat.
The longer we stay the more we are seen as occupiers, the more we will be hated.
By declaring victory we show that we went to war honorably and left with honor.
There is no reason to stay there. Staying there is promoting terrorism.
If there were other reasons this administration won't admit to.... that is a different story, a story that says the left anti-war marchers and al Qaeda were right. A story that proves we are only there for oil and for imperialist greed.
Declare victory, withdraw from Iraq and disprove that story.
We won, time to go.
ABRAMOFF'S FRIENDS.... Also their names are a clue to what they want to do to constitutional rights - delay, do little, nay, and burn.
A recent Harris interactive poll had me looking for other studies.
Harris found in a client poll for Christmas Tree dealers: Among activities traditionally considered Christian from 1996 to 2005:
• attending a religious service during the Christmas holidays declined 20 percentage points from 63 percent to 43 percent
• taking time for religious reflection declined 22 percentage points from 57 percent to 35 percent
• giving food, money or clothing to those less fortunate declined 15 percentage points from 68 percent to 53 percent (THIS IS NOT GOOD)
• reading the Bible or other religious books declined 27 percentage points from 51 percent to 24 percent
• volunteering for charitable activities declined 23 percentage points from 36 percent to 13 percent (THIS IS NOT GOOD EITHER)
Meanwhile, among activities often considered more commercial:
• exchanging gifts increased eight percentage points from 77 percent to 85 percent
• decorating a Christmas tree was about the same at 74 percent
Meanwhile American Atheists noted back a couple years ago that polls consistently overstate religious activities.
Harris found that only 55% of Americans attend a religious service "a few times a year," with only 36% attending once a month or more often. Twenty-six percent claimed to attend a house of worship every week.
They also cite other studies - "American Sociological Review" : The results indicated that 20% of Protestants attended services regularly rather than the claimed 40%, and 28% rather than 50% for Roman Catholics. A followup study bolstered their findings: They counted heads at church services, and found an average weekly attendance of 24% by the local Catholic population. They then conducted a phone poll that permitted the "socially desirable" bias to assert itself. Indeed, fifty-one percent of Roman Catholics questioned by telephone claimed to have been in church during the past week.
Meanwhile our Texas State Board of Education has withdrawn from the National Association of State Boards as they are too liberal - supporting items like the "'Separation of Church and State".
When I lived abroad, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. It was a chance to scrounge up a turkey, gather foreign and American friends, and celebrate what America represented to the world. I liked to give a sentimental toast when the turkey arrived at the table, and more than once I had my foreign guests in tears. They loved the American dream as much as I did.
I don't think Americans realize how much we have tarnished those ideals in the eyes of the rest of the world these past few years. The public opinion polls tell us that America isn't just disliked or feared overseas -- it is reviled. We are seen as hypocrites who boast of our democratic values but who behave lawlessly and with contempt for others. I hate this America-bashing, but when I try to defend the United States and its values in my travels abroad, I find foreigners increasingly are dismissive. How do you deny the reality of Abu Ghraib, they ask, when the vice president of the United States is actively lobbying against rules that would ban torture?
Of all the reversals the United States has suffered in recent years, this may be the worst. We are slowly shredding the fabric that defines what it means to be an American.
The Bush administration decided not to charge Jose Padilla with planning to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city because the evidence against him was extracted using torture on members of al-Qaida, it was claimed yesterday.
Not really news except for the mainstream Americans. I had linked to a torture victim saying they were questioning him about Padilla and he said anything they wanted to hear. (Can't find the link right now.)
Monday, November 21, 2005
Well, this stupid resolution is not what Murtha was saying, and the vote on it is meaningless. It is worse than meaningless. It is political clowning.
Indeed, given the GIs being blown up on a daily basis, the Republican phony resolution was the equivalent of trying to do a stand-up comedy routine at the funeral of someone's beloved son who had died at age 20.
As Harry Truman observed, "You can never get all the facts from just one newspaper, and unless you have all the facts, you cannot make proper judgments about what is going on."
It sounds stupid and superficial, but Democrats need to start talking in pithy sound bites instead of wonk-speak, show some emotion, connect with the audience on a visceral level and, for goodness sake, brush their hair and get rid of all tweed and clothes that don't fit.
Alternet also has an article on where all of our state laws come from - the ultra-conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Teen sex increased after abstinence program - Texas A&M study. The federal government is expected to spend about $130 million to fund programs advocating abstinence in 2005, despite a lack of evidence that they work.
The GOP and Conservative's War on Condoms.
59 percent of males who did not pledge abstinence used a condom during sex; only 40 percent of male pledgers used a condom.
Obviously the answer is back to the ABC's of sex education but the right-wing fanatics don't want to hear that.
And it's more than a bit noteworthy that something like this was predicted -- boasted about, really -- by anonymous Pentagon sources earlier this year.
This is just a short quick version from American Progress, there are many more Cheney lies, some he has admitted himself.
Cheney declared 'with absolute certainty' that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. On September 8, 2002, Vice President Cheney said, “We do know, with absolute certainty, that he is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon." At that time, however, the Department of Energy, the State Department and nuclear weapons experts “did not believe the aluminum tubes were for centrifuges to make nuclear weapons." After the invasion, months of inspections "found no evidence of hidden centrifuges or a revived nuclear weapons program."
Cheney said it was “pretty well confirmed” that Iraqi intelligence officers met with a 9/11 hijacker. The CIA has stated publicly that didn't have "any credible information" that the meeting took place. The bipartisan 9/11 Commission concluded the meeting did not occur. However, even after the 9/11 Commission issued its report, Cheney stood by his statements, saying in June 2004 that "we just don't know" whether the meeting took place.
Cheney said that Iraq trained al Qaeda terrorists. On December 2, 2002, Vice President Cheney claimed that Iraq had maintained long contacts with al Qaeda and “has provided training to al Qaeda terrorists.” This wasn’t true, and the administration knew it wasn’t true. The information came from a detainee known to be a fabricator months before the administration started using his claims as a basis for war. A February 2002 document by the Defense Intelligence Agency said that the detainee, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, ''was intentionally misleading the debriefers.''
Well, well, perhaps Bush and Cheney are losing this debate.
An administration eager to attack Iraq tapped a pipeline of bad information. Now the White House and the CIA are trying to avoid blame.
Germany 'shocked' how Bush and Powell twisted their intelligence. The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.
'L.A. Times' Report Adds Fuel to 'War Manipulation' Debate
Curveball the Eight Ball. - We were made fools of. By whom? Is it not obvious?
Saturday, November 19, 2005
After writing recently Look Ma, I'm a partisan hack! that was unusual for World Net Daily in attacking Bush and the GOP as well as Democrats, high-school age Kyle Williams has quit. (Not high-schooler, Kyle had confessed he couldn't handle public high school.)
While much younger than the other hacks at WND, he had been becoming their most mature writer.
Mosul clashes leave 12 dead
This is what CNN wrote on their website about what happened yesterday here in Mosul:
Mosul clashes leave 12 dead
Clashes between police and insurgents in the northern city of Mosul left 12 Iraqis dead and 26 wounded, hospital and police sources said Wednesday.
Rifle and rocket-propelled grenade fire as well as explosions were heard in the streets of the city.
The provincial governor imposed a curfew that began at 3 p.m. local time (7 a.m. EDT), and two hours later, provincial forces, police and Iraqi National Guard took control, according to Hazem Gelawi, head of the governor's press office in the Nineveh province.
Gelawi said the city is stable and expects the curfew to be lifted Thursday.
Now here's what really happened.... (A critical and uninformed Russian site has the US soldier blogger's complete post which was removed under US Army pressure.)
Then what happened: BLOG, AND GET BUSTED.
But more recently Esquire magazine articles, a book and back to blogging.
Friday, November 18, 2005
We went to war to remove Saddam Hussein in power. He is no longer in power.
We went to war because of possible Weapons of Mass Destruction. We have found out there are no weapons of mass destruction.
We went to war to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. In a few weeks the people of Iraq will elect their new government.
We won. It is time to declare victory and go home.
Our magnificent troops fought well and have eliminated the threat of Saddam and many terrorists. It is time they came home to their reward.
Bush and the Republican party by insisting we stay there are turning our victory into a defeat. The longer we stay there the more we are viewed as occupiers, not saviors. Already 45% of Iraqis according to a British defense department survey approve of attacks on coalition forces as occupiers. Over 80% of Iraqis believe we should leave next year, we are making the situation worse.
I call upon our elected representatives to declare victory and leave next year.
House vote tonight.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth:
I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won "militarily." I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.
The top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Murtha [a Marine intelligence officer in Vietnam] has earned bipartisan respect for his grasp of military issues over three decades in Congress. He planned to introduce a resolution Thursday that, if passed by both the House and the Senate, would force the president to withdraw U.S. troops.
This sounds like my plan - declare victory and turn it over to the new Iraqi government.
Corporations with matters before Congress paying to keep their man out of jail.
“DeLay is so addicted to corporate money that he is now accepting it to fight charges that he laundered it,” said Conor Kenny, with the federal watchdog group Congress Watch. “The man lacks any sense of decency or, apparently, irony.”
How will this play with the Christian base?
Two Iraqi men who were arrested in Iraq in 2003 but never charged with crimes say that U.S. troops put them in a cage with lions, pretended to execute them in a firing line and humiliated them during interrogations at multiple detention facilities.
Sherzad Khalid, 35, and Thahe Sabber, 37, say they were brutally beaten over several months at U.S. facilities such as Camp Bucca, Abu Ghraib prison and another detention facility at the Baghdad airport. They said the abuse occurred when they were unable to tell U.S. troops where Saddam Hussein was hiding and did not know about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
CBC-TV News: Abu Ghraib - A Few Bad Apples?
CBC documents how the few bad apples were in the Pentagon and the White House with shocking and dramactic new videos and interviews of Abu Ghraib.
Blows the lid of the Iraq torture story.
Scott, at the world's most over-rated blog, went to some Federalist Society debates on torture.
They, and he, are for it.
Scott also finds the space to link to the stupidest columnist in Minneapolis/St. Paul, praise the lawyer who argued that the President is above the law and he can do whatever he wants, especially give orders to torture people, and concludes by calling supporters of our Constitution "clowns."
Here are some haikus summarizing several of Katherine Kersten's columns. Which are certainly better than actually trying to read one.
I told you that is the world's most overrated blog and I think she is the stupidest columnist in the twin cities.
Sunni Iraqs denounce discovery of detention and torture center.
The American raid forced the prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who is a Shiite, to announce Tuesday that the government would investigate accusations of torture at the detention center, where many of the 173 prisoners were found in weakened, malnourished states. A former prisoner said in a telephone interview on Wednesday that he and other inmates, mostly Sunni Arabs, were regularly beaten and subjected to electric shocks. He was blindfolded for the entire duration of his stay, more than three months.Aren't some people saying we went to Iraq to get rid of Saddam's torture centers?
The Interior Ministry acknowledged on Tuesday that "instruments of torture" had been found and that torture had occurred.
The prison was in the basement of a bomb shelter built by Saddam Hussein's government and converted into a major operations center for the Interior Ministry after the American invasion. Several Iraqi officials said the policemen working there belonged to a powerful Iranian-trained Shiite militia called the Badr Organization.
This definitely pulls the whole thing inside the Oval Office, and “high crimes and misdemeanors” is back in the lexicon. The president's current NSA talked to a reporter about the identity of a critic's wife, who happened to work at the Agency on WMDs, and we are supposed to believe that Condi, our current Secretary of State and the NSA at the time kept this information from Bush?
And that's all before we find out if the Chief of Staff was involved also.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
'I will require anyone ordering a machine from me to provide proof of marriage and a signed statement of intent to use only within that marriage.'
Added - Regina's Sex Drive Daily blog.
As recently suspected, Hadley was first leaker of Plame name.
Hadley is also a suspect in the Niger forgeries.
Recently he has been a point man on misleading the country on the 'everyone knew that Iraq had WMDs' story.
Hadley was the fall guy for the uranium claim getting into Bush's State of the Union Speech. His excuse, "I forgot I was told not to include it."
It appears that Hadley is at the center of many of the lies I have been writing about for over three years.
I personally witnessed prisoner abuse during the Vietnam War, and by witnessing and remaining silent became a participant....
If the McCain bill fails under the weight of pressure from the Bush administration, then we should end this nation's hypocrisy and remove the words "In God We Trust" from our currency and coins. The use of torture tells the world that our faith and goodness as a nation is but an empty can making meaningless noise.
Big Bush supporter has a strangely evolving story.
The abrupt revelation that Woodward has been sitting on information about the Plame controversy has reignited questions about his unique relationship with The Post while writing books with unparalleled access to high-level officials, and about why Woodward minimized the importance of the Fitzgerald probe in television and radio interviews while hiding his own involvement in the matter.Pincus was trying to get more information about that case and Woodward claims he told him but Pincus forgot!
Woodward said he had passed along a tip about Plame to Post reporter Walter Pincus, who was writing about Wilson in June 2003, but Pincus has said he does not recall any such conversation.
More - Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago
ADDED - Pincus: Woodward 'Asked Me to Keep Him Out' of Plame Reporting
On Oct 29th, 2005 I blogged about his strange TV appearance and polled to ask if Woodward was drunk.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Note how carefully parsed their confirmation is.
Translation: They did not intentionally aim at civilians, the US has not signed the Geneva Conventions Protocol 3 that bans incendiary weapons within civilian concentrations.
AlterNet: Blogs: The L-Files: Lakshmi Chaudhry links to USA Today's major article via Daily Kos:
To hear Walker, the nation's top auditor, tell it, the United States can be likened to Rome before the fall of the empire. Its financial condition is "worse than advertised," he says. It has a "broken business model." It faces deficits in its budget, its balance of payments, its savings and its leadership.
Walker's not the only one saying it. As Congress and the White House struggle to trim up to $50 billion from the federal budget over five years just 3% of the $1.6 trillion in deficits projected for that period budget experts say the nation soon could face its worst fiscal crisis since at least 1983, when Social Security bordered on bankruptcy.
Without major spending cuts, tax increases or both, the national debt will grow more than $3 trillion through 2010, to $11.2 trillion nearly $38,000 for every man, woman and child. The interest alone would cost $561 billion in 2010, the same as the Pentagon.