Friday, September 30, 2005
This is a postcard sent to PostSecret last yr from a Marine in Iraq. Maybe if we see the unreleased Abu Ghraib photos, this Marine's postcard will make a helluva lot more sense, huh? Confession, generally is good for the soul. Could this be why Army Capt Ian Fishback, after serving 2 tours w/ the 82nd Airborne Division sent a letter to Sen John McCain?
So, Seymour Hersh told us in 04 that the Abu Ghraib videos would show children being raped, and maybe we shall see since US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the release of certain pictures. The judge wrote in his 50 pg decision (full PDF here) saying terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have proven they "do not need pretexts for their barbarism" and that "our nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from performing a statutory command." The most ludicrous quote on the pix? It comes from Gen John Abizaid, of US Central Command, said that releasing the photos would hinder his work against terrorism: "When we continue to pick at the wound and show the pictures over and over again it just creates the image- a false image- like this is the sort of stuff that is happening anew, and it's not." Hmm... well it has always been my experience that those of us who have nothing to hide-- hide nothing.
Sure, Judge Roberts got confirmed today, but in the big scheme of things, as truly awful as Roberts is and will be, we are replacing 1 uber-conservative who is racist and sexist w/another uber conservative who is racist and sexist. What didja expect Bush to pick? It is the next SCOTUS pick that will be especially tricky. But, the silver lining to this bad Roberts news is this: the past month, and especially the past 2 wks, has seen many GOPers get their karmic comeuppance. PERRspectivesBlog: Banana Republicans have rough month, but their rap sheet for the past wk alone is staggering. The list of GOP miscreants below is by no means complete, but it does hit the major players in the WH, Congress, Fedrl Bureaucracy, in the States, and on K Street. Also check out the special attention paid to DeLay's lies & Frist's new problems.
And who says racism is dead? Former GOP Education Secretary, Bill Bennett stated on his radio program on 9/28/05 (MediaMatters has audio here): "if you wanted to reduce crime, you could - if that were your sole purpose - abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Hmm, if memory serves me correctly, there was another famous campaign to rid the world of "unwanted" people... what was it?... Oh yeah, it was Hitler when he launched the genocide known as the Holocaust, but I digress. Well, Rep John Conyers is not taking this lightly. Please visit his blog to read the text of his letter that Conyers has written to the president of the Salem Radio Network, the network that carries Bennett's program, requesting that they suspend this program and address the problem of stereotyping and profiling that has been expressed on their programming. Why should we be shocked, really? We have Charles Murray, of The Bell Curve fame, writing in the Wall St Jrnl that what we're seeing post-Katrina isn't poverty but a once-again visible "underclass" of unsocialized black men w/no appetite for work, no capacity to hold jobs, and no ability to be helped through conventional methods. They are, quite literally, savages, unable to function in the world the rest of us inhabit. They are, as he puts it, the "looters and the thugs," not to mention the "inert women doing nothing to help themselves or their children."
Larry Franklin pled guilty to violations of the Espionage Act. Franklin was one of the Pentagon's policy experts on Iran and the Middle East. He was indicted in June on charges of providing classified information to an Israeli official and members of a pro-Israeli lobbying group, which is disclosing national defense information to people not entitled to receive it, and for leaking top secret information about 2 unidentified Middle Eastern officials to the media. This has got to have Rove, Libby, & the cabal of War Fans shitting kittens b/c, as UCLA Prof of Policy Studies Mark A R Kleiman explains: "Franklin was indicted under the Espionage Act (specifically 18 U.S.C. 793 (d)) for giving classified information to those not eligible to receive it, including members of the media. No money involved, no inteligence identities. And Franklin is pleading out. Looks to me as if the Espionage Act is still alive, and as if it applies squarely to the facts of the Plame outing case." Oh yeh, and as Pontificator points out: "we still haven't seen the classified CIA Damage Assessment Report on the Plame leak. If the leak led to overseas WMD sources being outed and killed, then, under the Espionage Act, this could be a death penalty case." Dear GOP... Karma... it can be a bitch.
Editor & Publisher: Miller left an Alexandria, VA. jail late Thurs. She was released after she had a telephone conversation with the VP Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, sources said. In that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a yr ago, sources said. OK, so maybe Libby is gearing up to fall on his GOP sword for his Masters in the WH, but what about this bit from the NY Times?: Bill Keller, the executive editor of The NY Times, said that Fitzgerald had assured Miller's lawyer that "he intended to limit his grand jury interrogation so that it would not implicate other sources of hers." Hmm... so her testimony may implicate other sources? Sources like Bolton? Rove? Cheney himself? But in the end, even if Libby is falling on his sword for Bush & Co, a very real possibility exists that BushCo doesn't want Fitzgerald to extend his investigation beyond October 28 and is going to "sacrifice" Libby in an effort to keep the investigation from widening. Libby may not like this, but he may have no choice but to go along with this and accept a pardon down the line, which W will happily do just his daddy did w/Iran-Contra criminals.
AssocPress: The nation of Greece on Sept 4 offered to donate 2 cruise ships to the US as part of humanitarian aid for Katrina evacuees. 2 senators, Sens Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have asked DHS's secretary Chertoff and FEMA to explain why exactly they chose to sign a $236 million deal with Carnival Cruise Lines for evacuee housing when Greece was ready to provide 2 ships for free. The 6 month deal w/ Carnival for 3 full-service cruise ships — which now sit mostly empty in the Gulf Coast — has been criticized by lawmakers of both parties as a prime example of wasted spending in Hurricane Katrina-related contracts. "Even if the Carnival contract were a good one -and it almost certainly is not- it is inexplicable why FEMA would fail to implement the Greek govt's offer of free cruise ships," the senators wrote. No it is not. I'm sure Carnival will repay the favor w/massive campaign contributions.
Would anyone doubt that these are 2 US service members? Would anyone doubt that this person they are clearly posing next to is dead and probably an Iraqi or Afghani national? If you were heading the inquiry into our military members trading war porn for real porn, you would.
AMERICAblog: The military has decided to stop all inquiries into service members trading photos of combat dead for access to porn b/c they claim this (via Reuters): The Army Criminal Investigation Command in Iraq conducted the preliminary inquiry w/in the past wk but closed it after concluding no felony crime had been committed and failing to determine whether US soldiers were responsible for the photos and whether they showed actual war dead. Col Joe Curtin, said there currently was no formal investigation into the matter b/c "the Army has found no evidence to prove that military personnel sent the graphic photos of the war dead." They're fucking kidding right? They're not US soldiers in those pix? Those are not actual combat dead in a Middle Eastern nation? No felony? Geneva Conventions, ever heard of it? This guy has: "If US soldiers in the field are always considered representatives of their govt, internt'l law clearly prohibits publishing and ridiculing images of war dead. The 1st Protocol of the Geneva Conventions states that "the remains of persons who have died for reasons related to occupation or in detention resulting from occupation or hostilities ... shall be respected, and the gravesites of all such persons shall be respected, maintained, and marked." The 1st Geneva Convention also requires that military personnel "shall further ensure that the dead are honorably interred, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged." Just wks ago, the military, DHS & FEMA wanted the press banned from NOLA, saying they would be disrespectful to the dead. I have seen plenty of pix of the dead in NOLA... NOT 1 single person was posing w/the corpses, smiling, or writing degrading captions! I guess John Kerry was absolutely correct when he said this after returning from Vietnam: "The Country doesn't know it yet, but it's created a monster. A monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence and who are given the chance to die for the biggest nothing in history."
Number of trips made by President Bush to the Gulf Coast: 7
Cost to fill up Air Force One with fuel: $83,000
Cost per hour to fly it: $6,000
Knowing you're covering up your corrupt incompetence and cronyism with meaningless gestures to stage empty photo ops...
...Priceless (courtesy of MichaelPH)
ThinkProgress: While testifying under oath, Mike Brown claimed that LA Gov Blanco’s Aug 27th request to the President for a fedrl emergency declaration excluded Orleans, Jefferson and Plaquemines parishes. But in fact, Brown is a big FAT LIAR, and Gov Blanco promptly issued this press release and bitchslapped Brown: "In fact, that request did include 14 parishes in SE Louisiana, including Orleans, Jefferson & Plaquemines... In fact, the evacuation was ordered on the morning of Sat, Aug 27. W/in 48 hrs, 1.3 million citizens- representing more than 90% of the region were evacuated... Such falsehoods and misleading statements, made under oath before Congress, are shocking. It clearly demonstrates the appalling degree to which Brown is either out of touch w/the truth or reality. Today’s hearing only supports the need for a thorough, non-partisan investigation of this event." Watch Brownie lie his ass off here.
CNN: A TX grand jury on Weds charged Rep Tom DeLay and 2 political associates w/ conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post. Please visit AGITPROP's take on the indictment, complete w/a 2005 video of an incoherent, slurring and obviously drunken Hot Tub Tom.
When I was less than 34 wks pregnant, I went into kidney failure due to toxemia. My ob/gyn didn't want to add the additional stress of a Csection onto my already ailing body, so he induced my labor. Inducement = fake hormones are pumped into your bloodstream, the doc shoves a big crochet hook looking instrument up into you to break your water, and you shiver & shake and puke from these fake labor hormones being pumped rapidly into your body to open your cervix so you can push your baby out. I was in labor for almost 29 hrs, and in between pushing for nearly 6 hrs straight and vomiting, my ob/gyn finally used forceps to pluck my daughter from my pelvis, as she had (since she was rather tiny) gotten stuck in the curve of my pelvic bone. I was beyond exhausted. Simply put, it was the HARDEST physical thing I have ever done. I would do this all over again for my beautiful & amazingly fiesty lil girl, and while I'm in no rush to repeat this, I do realize I am very lucky in comparison to so many other mothers. Please read this NY Times piece on the plight of African females who are usually too small to have babies but are impregnanted anyway, and have to deliver their babies w/out the assistance of a doc, hospital, or midwife. The result? Dead babies and fistulas. What are fistulas? Well, due to the babies being lodged in their narrow birth canals, and the resulting pressure cutting off blood to vital tissues, holes are ripped in their bowels or urethras, or both, and there are nearly no drs available to fix this.
Karen Hughes: Let Middle Eastern Women DRIVE!
Get a load of Bush's personal Sasquatch, Karen Hughes... I was rolling while reading this from the Wash Post: Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes questioned the Saudi ban on driving by women, saying that the ban had negatively shaped the image of Saudi society in the US... as Hughes spoke to an audience of several 100 Saudi women... ALL covered head to toe in black clothing. Yeh, it's not the heavy peek-a-boo black funeral shroud from head to toe they have to wear in the freakin desert heat... it's the driving ban. Here are some more killer lines that just cracked me up: 1) "We in America take our freedoms very seriously"-- as our beloved despot Bush chisels them to dust. 2) Hughes pressed the Saudi govt to help "find room to respect people of different faiths and different faith traditions."-- unless you live in America, then a sick, twisted version of GOP Christianity will be shoved down your throat while we encourage our troops to step & piss on the Koran in wartorn Muslim nations that we invaded for Halliburton. 3) Hughes urged Saudis "to speak out and be very vocal" when "you have someone committing these acts in the name of your faith."-- unless you are a scared & recently raped pregnant 13 yr old American girl at an abortion clinic, who will be shot to death by a "pro-lifer" in the name of Christ and oddly, in the GOP Christian quest to "save" lives.
MSNBC: "There was a great piece in Harper's last month, "The Christian Paradox: How a Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong'' by Bill McKibben, about how 3 out of 4 Americans believe the Bible teaches this: "God helps those who help themselves.'' The Gospel according to Mark? Luke? Actually, it was Ben Franklin who came up with these words to live by. The thing is,'' McKibben writes, "not only is Franklin's wisdom not biblical; it's counterbiblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we have seen -and been unable to look away from- the direct result of this self-deception. As rats feed on corpses in the streets- American streets- if this isn't enough to make us rethink the public-policy implications of turning the Gospel on its head in this way, then truly, God help us." Amen, and can I get a witness?
Guess ya better hope you're not innocent yet accused and convicted wrongly: From Oct 1 in both OH and FL prisoners will lose the right to petition DNA testing to prove their innocence. Also expiring is the DNA preservation law in FL, Gov Jeb has mandated only a 90 day notice requirement before destroying DNA evidence. 6 states in the country do not even have laws requiring the preservation of DNA evidence. CNN: Justice, it seems, has an expiration date. Luis Diaz last month became one of a handful of FL prisoners (and 1 of 99 nationwide) exonerated by DNA testing since 2000. But the 2001 statute that helped set him free after he spent 26 yrs in jail for rapes he did not commit is set to expire next wk. After Oct 1, prisoners can no longer petition FL & OH crts for post-conviction DNA testing, so their only hope will be to ask prosecutors (the people who put them in jail in the first place) to reopen their case. New hurdles could arise as a congressional bill threatens to restrict many prisoners from filing one last-ditch petition in fedrl crt. All these moves are designed to keep crts from getting deluged with DNA-related requests by thwarting new technology with red tape. Yeh... and it ensures that the Prison Industry (2 Million people are incarcerated in the US) chugs along to the tune of $40 billion per yr ($20K for every man, woman, & teen incarcerated in the US).
This study ought to give the God Squads a born-again aneurysm (via the Times UK): Religious belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide. According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems, and most in the US will refuse to accept this: The devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills. "Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining and impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world. But, the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, rates of gonorrhea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries, & the US also suffered from "uniquely high" adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates." In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies. Say it ain't so... the preach-happy do not practice what they preach? What's next? Abstinence only classes don't keep kids from boinking? That would be soooo shocking. Perhaps if people actually read and understood the teachings and words of Jesus, and stopped twisting His lessons into an ugly, hatefilled, intolerant, political & greedy agenda, religion couldn't hurt a nation.
StPetersburgTimes: After serving his department for 26 yrs and taken it through some of the toughest times of its history, New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tues after 4 turbulent wks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Katrina's aftermath. Neither Compass nor Mayor Nagin would say whether Compass was pressured to leave, but ya have to wonder about this (as DemocracyNow! asks): What about the 517 unaccounted for parish prisoners? A month after Katrina, serious questions remain about the fate of 100s of prisoners in N.O. while prisoners and their lawyers say many were abandoned in the flooding jails and left to drown. According to Human Rights News, that as of Monday, Aug 29, there were no correctional officers in the building, which held more than 600 inmates. These inmates, including some who were locked in ground-floor cells, were not evacuated until Thursday, Sept 1st, 4 days after flood waters in the jail had reached chest-level. Many inmates escaped, some drown, and some were left to fend for themselves... hmm, like everyone else in Katrina, huh? "It was complete chaos,” said a corrections officer with more than 30 yers of service at Orleans Parish Prison. When asked what he thought happened to the inmates, he shook his head and said: “Ain't no tellin’ what happened to those people.” Speaking of not knowing what has happened or is currently going on, former FEMA dir Mike Brown starts pointing fingers... is NOW the time for the blame game? Did Bush give old Brownie permission to speak blame?
BostonGlobe: Father Walter Cuenin, the outspoken pastor of a large parish in the Boston suburbs, has been replaced by an insider crony of Bernard Cardinal Law, the archconservative ex-archbishop of Boston who had been forced to resign due to his extremely sloppy handling of priest sex abuse cases. Law subsequently wound up with a sinecure in Rome. (Didja catch that? Law was a big f-ck up, let rampant wrongs go unchecked, was rewarded w/ primo Vatican spot. Sound familiar? George Tenet, 9/11, "slam dunk" on Iraqi WMDs, get medal from Bush. Mike Brown, really bad horse judge, really bad FEMA director, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!") It turns out that Cuenin had been a longstanding target of the right, and attacks against him in rightwing blogosphere heated up after he publicly indicated his acceptance of MA's legalization of gay marriage. One right-wing blog linked to a report of his resignation under the headline "This is fun." Yeh, ripping away parishioners' beloved tolerant priest on completely trumped up grounds... oh yeh, that's fun... especially when the new priest speaks to an empty church b/c the parishioners are fed up, huh? B/c heaven knows, we can have a tolerant man of God, now can we?
Troops Trade War Porn for Access to Real Porn
TheNation: "Originally created as a site for men to share images of their sexual partners, nowthatsfuckedup.com is offering our military members this deal: "If you are a US Soldier stationed in any combat area and you would like free access to the wife/ girlfriend porn area of the site, you can post real pictures (of anything over there) you or your buddies have taken while you have been deployed." And send the pix they do: US troops are displaying graphic battlefield photos apparently taken w/their personal digital cameras. The website has become a stomach-churning showcase of close-up shots of insurgents and civilians with heads blown off, or w/intestines spilling from open wounds. Sometimes pix of mangled body parts are displayed & users guess what appendage/ organ is on display. And 1000s of people are logging on to take a look." Read The Nation article and check out AMERICAblog's take on it and many pix... Many of the pix and comments are stunningly racist and stupifyingly devoid of all humanity. How proud Bush, his GOP, War Fans and the Neo-Cons must be: War (and racism) causes depraved indifference to human life. Yet pro-choicers are called depraved for wanting to keep abortion (a procedure that has been happening since antiquity & will continue to happen regardless of legality) legal.
1) Sen Frist's dad, Tom Sr and the Senator's bro, Tom Jr own the company HCA. 2) Sen Frist has owned HCA stock for yrs, and for 11 yrs now he's been hounded by reporters accusing him of inappropriate unethical behavior in owning that stock & for the Dept of Justice screeching its 11 yr probe into HCA to a halt. At issue? A massive HCA fraud perpetrated against Medicaid/ Medicare for overbilling, false billing. 3) So, after yrs of accusations, Sen Frist sells off the stock precisely w/in months of when his family does... precisely at the point when he stands to make/save A LOT of money. 4) This stock was in a BLIND TRUST. A blind trust means he isn't suppose to know how much he made/saved, but the trustee of Frist's trust, M. Kirk Scobey Jr, wrote to Frist in 2002 to let him know that HCA stock was contributed to the trust & that Frist knew quite a bit about his accounts from nearly 2 dozen letters from the trust administrators. Regardless of whether it is "provably" inside trading, these facts remain: a) Since it is a family business, he probably would have had access to such info if he wanted. b) He shouldn't have been dealing with his blind trust at all. It is clear there are financial issues w/Frist here. There may not be 100% proof of insider trading, but it surely suggests it strongly, and well enough to suggest guilt. Oh yeah!... and as Reef the Dog's post points out, Frist's HCA has made millions off of abortions, and it's time for the press to get off their asses and connect this w/Bush's blatant insider trading on Harken oil stock. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi, Rove, Delay, etc all are profiting from their own legislation and Abramoff is organizing it.
As if things weren't bad enough in the FEMA hurricanes f-up dept: TX Judge Carl Griffith said he has become so frustrated w/ the fedrl relief effort that he has instructed all local officials to use police force if they have to to take supplies from FEMA. "If you have enough policemen to take it from them, take it," Griffith said. His frustration comes as squabbling continues among fedrl, state and local over what some characterize as a woeful lack of communication. So, what happens to make things "better"? CBSNews: Michael Brown, who recently resigned as the head of the FEMA, has been rehired by the agency as a consultant to evaluate its response following Hurricane Katrina.
NY Times: "In a nationwide poll, conducted from Aug/19 to Aug/22 by Harris Interactive, 1013 adults were interviewed about their hand washing habits. Then observers were sent into public restrooms to see what actually happened. 91% of adults claimed in the poll that they washed their hands after using a public restroom. But of the 6336 adults whose behavior was observed, only 82% actually did so. Washing hands after changing a baby's diaper is also far from a universal habit, with only 64% of men and 82% of women reporting that they did so." Dear God... I must be a germaphobe: At work w/all the lil kiddos, I wash my hands BEFORE I go to the bathroom and then AFTER I go, as well. And the bit about changing a diaper and not washing hands? Not in this lifetime. She's my baby, but her body fluids are still germy.
CommonDreams: "The prevailing version of Washington's debate over Iraq still amounts to disputes over how to proceed with the U.S. war effort in Iraq. Top officials and politicians in Washington won't change that. The journalists echoing them won't change that. The antiwar movement must." Well, Cindy Sheehan just front-paged the anti-war movement bigtime (after 2 wks of zero coverage) by getting arrested for the 1st time. She tells all about losing her "arrest virginity" here. Now, what if a whole lotta pissed-off middle class moms start getting arrested?
Holy crap! Et tu Kristoff? Wow. When a W water carrier like Kristoff delivers a mighty bitchslap to Bush AND Lithium Laura on global warming, ya know people are taking this devastation seriously. Please read "Fire Bell in the Night" and laugh at Kristoff's use of Bushisms.
An unknown Iraqi boy cries and mourns over the loss of his loved ones. How many thousands of Iraqis have been made to cry and mourn like this? There is no difference between this boy's pain and the crushing pain that families and friends of our American troops feel. But why is this boy's suffering practically ignored by most of America? Oh, that's right... I can't ask a question like that b/c if I do then that means I hate America and I am a traitor. Note to self: Questioning your govt = traitor. Wonder if our Founding Fathers got that memo? Probably not... or else our national anthem would be "God Save the Queen", huh? Photo and accompanying story courtesy of RubDMC.
Gold Star Mom for Peace, Celeste Zappala, prays and mourns over the loss of her son, Sherwood, as well as the loss of countless other lives for this unnecessary war in Iraq. Photo courtesy of Natl Council of Churches.
The National Council of Churches' Genl Secretary, the Rev Dr Bob Edgar, marched w/ Cindy Sheehan on Sat in DC and prayed with her in Crawford, TX. Rev Dr Edgar proudly and fiercely marched in DC to show the world that he stands behind the words that he & The Governing Board of the Natl Council of Churches have said about this war: "...No WMDs have been found; no link to the attacks on Sept 11/01 has been shown. It has become clear that the rationale for invasion was at best a tragic mistake, at worst a clever deception. As people of faith, we believe in the transcendent sovereignty and love of God for creation, and that the responsibility of human beings is thus to pursue justice and peace for all... The time has come to say: NO to leaders who have sent honorable sons & daughters to fight a dishonorable war. NO to the violence that has cost American lives, left 1000s grievously injured, and killed untold numbers of Iraqis whose deaths we are unwilling to acknowledge or count. NO to the abuse of prisoners that has shamed our nation and damaged our reputation throughout the world. NO to the price tag for this war that has rendered our fedrl budget incapable of adequately caring for the poorest of our own citizens. And, NO to theologies that demonize other nations and religions while arrogantly claiming righteousness for ourselves as if we share no complicity in human evil." Truer words have never been spoken... amen. And please visit FaithfulAmericaOrg. Their motto is: "An online community of people of faith working to build a more just and compassionate nation."
TIME: A TIME inquiry finds that at top positions in some vital govt agencies, the Bush Administration is putting connections before experience.... GASP!!... cronyism and Bush bootlicking trumps experience and expertise? Say it ain't so. Yeh, Paul Krugman asks the exact same question in today's NY Times in "Find the Brownie".
It is so strange that this Bob Cesca post, "Bigotry In the Name of Jesus H. Christ", appeared the morning after a pompous GOP Kool-Aid drinker/ War Fan/ member of the American Taliban left a nasty little troll-like comment for me at my post about the Anti-War Protest in DC. The hypocrisy and evilness of these freeper freaks never ceases to amaze me... and if you happen to visit one of his several sites, plese take notice of this: Dr Asshat seems to have an obsession for adolescent white girls w/light brown or blonde hair. He repeatedly posts pix of various young girls throughout the 2 blogs of his that I visited. Hmm, for a guy who felt compelled to say to me that I have an arduous relationship w/my father, I have to wonder this: Does he assume that strong independent proud Dem females simply must have a f-cked up relationship w/their fathers b/c he HIMSELF has a sick twisted sexual hang-up for young girls? What kind of loser do you have to be that strong women frighten and threaten you? Are weak, inexperienced adolescent girls the only ones that allow you to get your pathetic pedophilic rocks off, Dr? Just asking....
SanFranGate (via The Cunning Realist... yeh, I can't believe it either): Mary Tillman (Pat's mom) said a friend of Pat’s arranged a private meeting w/ Noam Chomsky, the antiwar author, to take place after his return from Afghanistan- a meeting prevented by his death. She said that although he supported the Afghan war, believing it justified by the 9/11 attacks, “Pat was very critical of the whole Iraq war.” Spc Russell Baer, who served w/Tillman for more than a yr in Iraq and Afghanistan said this: "We were outside of (a city in S. Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush." Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Sen John Kerry. Whoa... what ever w/ Mann the Emaciated Hag Coulter say about this since she/he was oozing all over poor Pat's coffin?
Not a member of the wealthy 1% of the population? Piss off, b/c tax breaks cannot go to those who donate free housing to Katrina victims. YahooBizNews: "Dear Tax Talk- I have donated an $875-per-month apartment, rent free, to a Hurricane Katrina family for an indefinite period of time. How can I claim a tax deduction for lost rent? Dear Charity- Your altruism will be rewarded, but probably more so in heaven than at tax time. To be a charitable deduction, your cash gift would have to be directed to a qualified organization and not to one particular family. You're better off renting the apartment for $875 and giving the money to the Red Cross." Yeh, but you'd be MUCH better off to be a millionaire w/an estate and/or to be a broadband provider. Then you'd get the farm handed to you, and you'd get to screw the farmer's sheep & daughter.
This is a heartwarmer, huh? God bless his oldtimer's heart. For more pix from the DC Anti-War Rally, please visit here and here.
TruthOutOrg: William Rivers Pitt says: "First CNN says this: A CNN.com article says, "More than 2,000 people gathered," for the protest. Ye Gods, ya think so? Whoever wrote that article should maybe tune in to the TV station they work for. There are 2,000 people on about 20 feet of sidewalk ... for a dozen blocks. Then CNN Headline News is reporting that this is the largest anti-war protest in DC since the war started... and then CNN is reporting that 600,000 people were here... and finally, C-SPAN is reporting the crowd size at 500,000. I trust their numbers." Yeah, I think I'll trust C-SPAN's estimate, but I'm willing to bet that the Freako Freepers will be vomiting out that 2000 number REPEATEDLY.
TheIndependentUK: "My name is Hart Viges. Sept 11 happened. Next day I was in the recruiting office. I thought that was the way I could make a difference in the world for the better... I don't know how many innocents I killed with my mortar rounds... It's like they didn't tell me about this emotional attachment to killing. They tried to numb me, they tried to strip my humanity. They tried to tell me that's not a human being - that's a soft target... I'm a Christian, what was I doing holding a gun to another human being? Love thy neighbour. Pray for those who persecute you, don't shoot them... See, you can't wash your hands when they're covered in blood. The wounds carry on. This is what war does to your soul, to your humanity, to your family." This is what we were protesting against Sat afternoon. How many lives have to be destroyed by unnecessary deaths, maimings, and psychological disturbances? How many and for what? So we can leave a country completely unstable & ripe for civil war, filled w/freshly converted Anti-Americans who hate us for occupying their nation & killing and torturing their people, and vulnerable to the Muslim theocrats who will subjugate the females and fill the males' heads & hearts w/rabid hatred? Gee, it sounds like it was worth it to bankrupt America and Iraq spiritually & financially, huh?
Bring Our Troops Home Now in DC & Locally
Sept 24th's Anti-War Rally is finally here, and Cindy Sheehan, the Vets for Peace, and 1000s of other fed-up citizens will gather in DC to put the heat on Bush & his cabal of War Fans and Neo-Cons. There are local anti-war protests for us fellow Ohioans to attend (courtesy of CIMorg-ClevelandIndyMedia: 1) Akron, OH 11:00am March at Grace Park and 2) Canton, OH 1:00pm March near Canton Center Mall.
TIME: The US Army has launched a criminal investigation into new allegations of serious prisoner abuse in Iraq & Afghanistan made by a decorated former Capt in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. The claims of the unnamed Capt are corroborated by statements of 2 sgts who served w/ him in the 82nd Airborne & the allegations form the basis of a report from Human Rights Watch. Senate sources say that the Capt has also reported his charges to 3 senior GOP senators: Bill Frist, John Warner & John McCain. A Senate GOP staffer familiar with both the Captain and his allegations told TIME he appeared "extremely credible."
TomPaine: A simmering battle between 2 Shiite paramilitary armies is brewing in Iraq between a) The forces of the Badr Brigade, the 20,000-strong force controlled by the Iranian-supported Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and b) The Mahdi Army, the thousands-strong force that worships the fanatical Muqtada Al Sadr. The battle, which might flare into a Shiite-Shiite civil war in advance of the Oct 15 referendum on Iraq’s divisive, rigged constitution, could put the final nail in the coffin of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. To hear Saudi Arabia's foreign minister (Prince Saud al-Faisal) tell it, Iraq is hurtling towards disintegration and that an election planned for Dec is unlikely to make any difference. And adding gasoline to the flames is this: the 2 Brit soldiers-- who were "busted out" of an Iraqi prison after Iraqi police claimed the Brit soldiers fired upon Iraqi police and civilians-- were dressed as Mahdi Army members & were loaded to the teeth w/suicide bomber weaponry. Hmm... why exactly would 2 Brit soldiers dress up as soldiers of Muqtada Al Sadr and have suicide bomber weapons? B/c they wanted to make the Iraqi police and civilians believe that they were Mahdi Army members and cause resentment towards Sadr's followers. Of course, if you hear the Ministry of Defence tell the story, the 2 Brits were rescued from a militia, but I'll take Juan Cole's take on the situation b/c Cole calls a spade a spade: "The entire episode reeks of "dual sovereignty," in which there are 2 distinct sources of govt authority. Social historian Charles Tilly says that dual sovereignty signals a revolutionary situation." Revolutionary situation? In Iraq? Really?
That. Is. Soooo. Shocking.
RAWStory: "Well I would say that in the yr 2000 the country failed abysmally in the presidential election process," the former president remarked. "There’s no doubt in my mind that Al Gore was elected president. He received the most votes nationwide, and in my opinion, he also received the most votes in FL. And the decision was made as you know on a 5-4 vote on a highly partisan basis by the US Supreme Court, so I would say in 2000, there was a failure." Listen to what Carter has to say about the state of OH in the 2004 Election here.
NYTimes: The force of approaching Hurricane Rita has torn through levees still under repair for damage from Katrina 24 days ago, sending water cascading into the hardest-hit neighborhoods of the city, quickly submerging cars and flooding empty homes wrested from their foundations. In NOLA, forecasters said the hurricane could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain, enough to put the patched levees at more risk. An added fear was that another strong storm surge would push water through the walls in other places. In the meantime, workers continue to search for the dead, which is an ever growing gory and grueling ordeal.
GovExec: Rather than forgo tax cuts for the wealthy or corporations, or cut pork from the ham-laden transportation bills, the House GOPers have come up w/ "Operation Offset". "Op Offset" = cuts to some federal retirees' benefits to help offset the cost of Hurricane Katrina recovery.
2 Million Flee from Hurricane Rita
AP: The storm's march toward land sent 100s of 1000s of people fleeing the nation's 4th largest city in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus from Houston, TX. Please read this woman's personal account of being caught in the Rita gridlock for 12hrs and being able to go only 55 miles in that time. Let's hope Rita is not as devastating as Katrina, and that N.O. doesn't flood again from the current falling rain.
Well, if the esteemed... cough, cough... National Enquirer says Bush has fallen off of the wagon and is drinking, then it just must be true, huh? While I would not put faith in the Nat'l Enquirer, I do put faith in these guys: Crooks & Liars asks about the N.E. story, too. I would not doubt that Bush has cracked and is drinking again and since he was a former hardcore drinker, let's face the facts: Bush is a functioning dry drunk. But what I really want to know is what the hell is up w/Bush's incessant jaw twitching when he speaks? Digby noticed this twitch AND a new scrape on Bush's face. Another nasty tumble W? Hmm... well it appears that jaw twitching can be indicative of Acute Dystonia and Tardive Dyskineasia-- neuro-muscular disorders that one might see with involuntary movements of the face, mouth, jaw twitching... often induced by long term psychotropics, or tranquilizers. Here is a cache of Bush's medical records, no official record of any anti-psychotics drugs, but whitewash is this administration's M.O.
AP/Yahoo News: "A soon-to-be-released Vatican document will say that homosexuals are unwelcome in Catholic seminaries even if they are celibate. This has devastated gay clergy, embarrassed straight priests and raised doubts among conservatives about whether an outright ban can be enforced. The upcoming "instruction" from the Vatican will reaffirm the church's belief that homosexuals should not be ordained." So, even if they're celibate? Hmm, I was taught as a Catholic that the sin was not being homosexual but that the sin was to act on the homosexuality and engage in gay sex. Guess that teaching is thrown out the window, huh? Well, it is certainly interesting to see that Pope Benny has a cavalier attitude when it comes to drug money b/c God knows... drugs DO NOT HURT people, eh? GuardianUK (via PamSpaulding): "A Mexican bishop has admitted that the local Catholic church receives donations from drug traffickers, but claimed these are "purified" through good works". Bishop Ramón Godínez said "bad money shouldn't be burned it should be transformed". He said the church should ignore the origins of donations just as Jesus showed no curiosity about the expensive perfume Mary Magdalene used to wash his feet. Govt officials have said that receiving illicit money is illegal, but shied away from opening a money laundering investigation into the church." So, destroying lives thru drugs = OK, but living your life according to the sexual orientation that you were born as = SIN. Now I understand how the Church got away w/selling indulgences.
FLTimes-Union (via SteveGilliard): An 18 yr old white student was hit in the head by a 17 yr old black student at FL's Fleming Island High School. A crowd of about 100 students gathered to watch the fight before authorities intervened. The cause of the fight? A T-shirt that the white student was wearing. The white student said he put the shirt on in the morning because he planned to wear it to a party that night w/ others who, like him, had enlisted in the Marines. He said: "I'm not racist or anything. It's just, some people I hate, some people I don't get along with. And black people just happen to be the ones b/c they think they're better than everyone else." He said has friends who are black, and that he doesn't think they would be mad at him because they know he would not do what was depicted on the T-shirt. Although a friend has borrowed the shirt, the 18 yr old said it is "more than likely" he'll keep it in his own wardrobe b/c "I'm a redneck," he said. "But no, I'm not racist." Oh really asshat? This is what the T-shirt had on it: The shirt had a confederate flag on the front with the words "Keep it flying." On the back, a cartoon depicted a group of hooded Klansmen standing outside a church, waving to two others who had just pulled away in a car reading "Just married."
Two black men in nooses were being dragged behind the car.
GreenvilleNews (via Jesus' General): Renee Holcombe had been employed at the Greenville Technical College for 19 yrs. That was until she was asked to resign from her position as an associate vice president for student services with a staff of about 40. Why was she asked to resign? She told employees in 2 separate briefings last wk that the school's aid for the mostly black Hurricane Katrina victims staying at the Palmetto Expo Center would include sending yellow buses to pick up the "yard apes". The college's vice pres said that Holcombe was referring specifically to the children of evacuees, who were provided separate transportation. Nice. An educated woman in a higher education position refers to black children as yard apes. Guess we're lucky she didn't call them porch monkeys, huh?
MiamiHerald: "The House voted Thurs to let Head Start centers consider religion when hiring workers, overshadowing its moves to strengthen the preschool program's academics and finances. The GOP-led House approved a bill that lets churches and other faith-based preschool centers hire only people who share their religion, yet still receive federal tax dollars. The GOP plan would, for example, let a Catholic church that provides Head Start services employ only Catholic child-care workers. GOP lawmakers, with full backing from the WH, contend that preschool centers should not have to give up their religious autonomy in order to receive federal grants." As an educator, I am SEETHING w/anger. How dare our Congress support state sponsered discrimination? How in the hell is this Constitutional? And honestly- what is next for these freaks? Will it suddenly become legal (even though it is against the law to do so due to the Americans w/Disabilities Act) for an employer to discriminate against a person w/ disabilities when hiring for a job?
Crooks and Liars: Ahhh... there's nothing quite so interesting as 2 Irish men duking it out... unless of course it were to be 2 Italian men duking it out. Please watch the 8 mins video at C&L or read the transcript here, courtesy of NewsHounds.
Talibornagains: Sin Caused Hurricanes (Part 1)
BEWARE! Freako Religious Fright Spew Lies Ahead! GrasstopsUSA: "Did God whack New Orleans? [well... Katrina also whacked MS & AL- both very Red States, including Trent Lott's house... I guess God wanted to whack a whole lotta GOPers, huh?] Was Katrina a warning – the ultimate wake-up call for a morally somnolent nation? Even religious conservatives are afraid to speculate, so successfully have we been cowed by a culture of disbelief." [oh boy... here we go again... The Mythical Persecution of the Christians in America] Here's the reasons he lists for Katrina happening as God's Righteous Wrath: 1) Katrina hit N.O. one wk to the day after the Sharon govt- backed by US govt- drove 9,500 Jews from Gaza. 2) Katrina hit N.O. days before the scheduled Southern Decadence, an annual orgy freak-fest celebrating alternative death-styles, characterized by nudity and public copulation, not to mention sodomy. 3) While waters still swirled in the Big Easy, the CA Legislature became the 1st in the nation to approve homosexual marriage. 4) Just days ago, a US district court in Sacramento ruled it’s unconstitutional for school children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the words “One nation under God.” Okay, so he and others of his twisted ilk claim that Katrina was God's wrath for sin... but what about the reverse of this? What if God made Katrina (and now Rita) hit MS, LA, FL, & TX b/c of their anti-gay marriage/anti-tolerance & privacy legislation?
First of all, if God was really up to punishing people and/or countries for the 'gay thing' Canada would have been wiped off the map some time ago, right? Secondly, God hates shrimp! It's right there in Leviticus. So, maybe God had to bring Katrina thru to devastate the Gulf Coast shrimp fleet, right? And thirdly, what about all of the anti-gay marriage legislation that exists/ is currently being kicked around in FL, MS, LA, and TX? Hmm, all 4 states have and/or will be hit by Katrina and now Rita. Couldn't this be God's wrath for intolerance and gay bashing? 1) In 1977, FL banned gay marriage. But in 2005, the fight is on to amend the FL state Constitution after the Nov '06 elections just to really stop homosexuals from walking down the aisle. 2) In Nov 2004, MS amended its constitution to outlaw gay marriage. 3) In Sept 2004, LA amended its constitution to outlaw gay marriage. 4) In Nov of 2005, TX will most probably overwhelmingly approve a ban on gay marriage-- led of course, by TX's gay bashing Gov Rick Perry, who told gay veterans (many returning from combat in Iraq) that they were not welcome in TX and if they wanted equal rights in the state of TX, then they should leave TX and live somewhere else. Seems to me that the Talibornagains have little leg to stand on when the evidence is compared, huh? Maybe Katrina and Rita are giant pissed off lesbians, and dammit they're just not gonna take it anymore! Big hat tip to Shamanic for the inspiration for Part 2.
USA Today: "1036 deaths have been attributed to Katrina across the Gulf Coast as the nation braces for Category 5 Hurricane Rita. Officials would not speculate on what the final tally could be since, initially, authorities made hasty sweeps thru neighborhoods to identify the living and dead. That was followed by a door-to-door search, but homes w/locked doors were off-limits. Said US Coast Guard Capt Jeffrey Pettitt: "There still could be quite a few, especially in the deepest flooded areas. Some of the houses, they haven't been in yet, and unfortunately, searchers are beginning to find more children. The effort could last another 4 to 6 wks." Many homes are unsafe to enter & are so structurally unsound they are marked, "Do not enter," and seemingly every house has mold growing from every surface. Bodies are still found scattered around homes and in streets. On Tues, a badly decomposed corpse in the 9th Ward lay draped over a fence, its nearly skeletized head resting on the ground w/1 leg jutting in the air. There was no outward indication it had been marked for removal by the search crews. Reporters and photographers roaming the city have recorded numerous bodies in recent days around the city. 1 that had been marked remained in a house & visible from the street for a wk before a reporter notified authorities. It was removed that day." How sad is that? The only way a corpse can be removed properly is if the media points it out? That corpse is somone's loved one, and deserves respect. Shameful.
TheHillNews: David Safavian had been the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) at the Office of Management and Budget but resigned his post last Friday. David was then arrested Monday on 3 criminal charges of obstruction of justice related to interviews w/govt ethics officers, lawyers, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the FBI. Why is the GOP scared? Well, in his former position, Safavian apparently made procurement decisions on the federal response to Katrina. He also is very closely tied to lobbyist Jack Ambramoff, Rep Bob Ney (R-OH), Ralph Reed (formerly of Christian Coalition), Susan Ralston- Ambramoff's assistant, Safavian former business partner Grover (Drown the Govt in a Bathtub) Norquist, Sen Santorum has taken contributions from him, and pretty much anyone who bootlicks for Team Bush. If Safavian sings like a cornered canary- the GOP is in for a world of hurt. And it appears that a severe conflict of interest has arisen given that David's wife, Jennifer Safavian, is chief counsel for oversight and investigations on the House Govt Reform Committee, which is responsible for overseeing govt procurement and is, among other things, expected to conduct the Congressional investigation into missteps after Katrina. Hmm... all the more reason why we need to have an independent investigation and committee instead of a bi-partisan, politically-influenced one where the GOPer who fellates the most GOPers gets off-- no pun intended-- scott free.
Hey Gov Jeb Bush... I once owned a SheRa Princess of Power belt, wristbands, crown, and sword.... WHEN I WAS 8 YRS OLD!! And I also knew that SheRa was NOT REAL. Get a frickin grip dude... aren't you a little too old for imaginary friends?
I am abso-fucking-lutely serious here folks... it is unbelievable to even post about this... YET... it does explain sooooo very much about Jebbie's kids-- George P, Noelle and her 2nd offense, and John Ellis... aka the "lil brown ones" (as George H. W. Bush referred to them when pointing out his half Hispanic grandchildren to Reagan). Think Progress: "Last wk, after "more than an hr of solemn ceremony" swearing in Rep Marco Rubio (R-FL) as House speaker, Gov Jeb Bush stepped to the podium to tell "a short story about 'unleashing Chang,' his 'mystical warrior' friend." Spoken before 100s of lawmakers and politicians here are Jeb's scary-ass words, courtesy of The Gainesville Sun: "Chang is a mystical warrior. Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society. I rely on Chang w/ great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down." Bush then unsheathed a golden sword and gave it to Rubio as a gift. "I'm going to bestow to you the sword of a great conservative warrior," he said, as the crowd roared. To find out more about Jeb's condition, click here."
Speaking of wealthy psychopaths w/wealthy soul-less families... Reuters: A team of US scientists has found the emotionally impaired are more willing to gamble for high stakes and that people with brain damage may make good financial decisions. In a study of investors' behavior 41 people with normal IQs were asked to play a simple investment game. 15 of the group had suffered lesions on the areas of the brain that affect emotions. The scientists found emotions led some of the group to avoid risks even when the potential benefits far outweighed the losses, a phenomenon known as myopic loss aversion. The result was those with brain damage outperformed those without... so, the best wheeler-dealers could well be "functional psychopaths." My God. This simply explains soooo much in our current administration, now doesn't it?
AssocPress: Frist sold all his stock in his family's hospital corporation about 2 wks before it issued a disappointing earnings report and the price fell nearly 15%. Frist held an undisclosed amount of stock in Hospital Corporation of America, based in TN. HCA is the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain. On June 13, he instructed the trustee managing the assets to sell his HCA shares and those of his wife and children. Hmm, Martha Stewart went to prison for this. Think she will share her knitting skills w/old Bill so he can whip up a sassy poncho while in The Big House? And this is the NOT the FIRST time Frist has committed shady business deals w/HCA. Check out this '04 US Newswire article about Frist's connections to HCA and the company's subsidiary malpractice insurer, HCI. This clearly created a personal and financial conflict of interest for Frist w/ hospital liability legislation he brought to the Senate floor. A complaint was filed w/ the Senate Select Committee on Ethics but we all know how the God fearing/ Bible spewing Billyboy was given a free pass. I wonder if Martha (who donated heavily to Dems) can teach Frist how to protect himself from becoming a prisonyard bitch?
USNews & World Report: While official WH focus /emphasis is on rebuilding after Katrina, WH Deputy Chf of Staff Karl Rove found time to visit a super-exclusive conference this past weekend sponsored by Forstmann Little, the investment company, in Aspen, CO. A prominent GOPer w/strong connections to Capitol Hill got wind of Rove's jaunt and wasn't pleased: "What the hell is Karl Rove doing there?" he asked. The GOP insider wondered whether it was appropriate for Bush's political guru to hobnob w/the rich and powerful at the exclusive resort at a time when the administration is supposed to be focused on helping the victims of Katrina, showing empathy for their plight, especially since Rove is supposed to be the chief architect of the Gulf Reconstruction. And ya have to wonder, how did Rove-- a college dropout w/zero engineering credentials-- get the honor of overseeing the most important reconstruction effort since the Civil War? Well, I guess when you spew the Prez's fascist agenda-- such as the Katrina mistakes were simply a problem of the feds not being able to override the local govt (illegal by the way due to the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the military from being deployed in a law enforcement capacity domestically)-- you always get a free ride and high position for which you are completely unqualified.
Oh Snap! I was correct! My post dated July 29 2005, I said that I thought that John Bolton was in the very middle of the Plame Outing... and now Arianna at HuffingtonPost says this: "I'm now hearing that the investigation may be inching closer to never-confirmed UN Ambassador John Bolton. According to 2 sources, Bolton's former chief of staff, Fred Fleitz, was at least 1 of the sources of the classified information about Valerie Plame that flowed through the Bush administration and eventually made its way into Bob Novak's now infamous column. So what does this all mean to the ongoing Plamegate investigation? Well, another source close to Bolton recently described his management style to me as "Very hands on. Nothing goes by him. His staff does what he wants. He's not the kind of guy to have his staffers freelancing." So, if Fleitz was a key source of the Plame info and Bolton is not the kind of guy to have his staffers freelancing… does this mean Bolton was being less than forthcoming when he told people, in the words of my source, that "the 1st time he ever heard Valerie Plame's name was when he read it in the newspaper"?
The Nation (highlights of Sharon Olds' letter to Laura Bush): "I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on Sept 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the WH... I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration. What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us. So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it." Please read the entire letter... it is a righteous and mighty bitchslap that Ms. Olds should be duly proud of. Olds is not my fav poet, but I am fond of 3 of her poems: Sex Without Love, The Pope's Penis, and The Unborn.
Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) Rest in Peace
USAToday: Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who helped track down numerous Nazi war criminals following WWII and spent the later decades of his life fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all people, died early Tuesday. He was 96 yrs old. Wiesenthal spent more than 50 yrs hunting Nazi war criminals, speaking out against neo-Nazism and racism, and remembering the Jewish experience as a lesson for humanity. Through his work, he said, some 1,100 Nazi war criminals were brought to justice. "When history looks back I want people to know the Nazis weren't able to kill millions of people and get away with it," he once said. Rest in peace Mr. Wiesenthal, and may you finally be surrounded by beauty, generosity and kindness, all of which were absent during your horrific Holocaust life experiences.
NYCIndyMedia (as reported by Pete Dolack): "The NYPD forcibly broke up Monday's rally for Sheehan, moving in as Cindy was speaking at about 3 pm in Union Square. The rally (w/about 200 in attendance) had been underway for about an hr, and was about to conclude as Cindy spoke. As Cindy was speaking, a large platoon of police massed behind from the interior of the park, then formed a circle behind her. The police captain made a cutting motion at his throat, signalling he wanted no more free speech. He waited about 30 secs, then the police moved in. They didn't dare arrest Cindy, but they immediately moved in and arrested Zool, the event's organizer and one of the main organizers of Camp Casey-NYC. I do not believe anyone else was arrested; at least I didn't see any other arrests. I was nearby, and there was no hesitation on the part of the police in specifically targetting Zool." You can read the Village Voice's take on the rally & arrest here. Is this what happens when you dare to speak in Bloomberg's city? Perhaps the prolonged detainment & arrests of protestors during the RNC in NYC last summer was a big hint that civil rights do not exist if Bloomberg says so? Cindy says in this Reuters article: "We have to stop making war profitable." Maybe that is what angers GOPers like Bloomberg so much, b/c God knows, if ya ever want to hurt a GOPer, you hit their wallet.
PlannedParenthood: "In a curious move, the FDA named 2 acting directors to the office of women's health. FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford 1st appointed a man who has spent the majority of his career in the office of veterinary medicine to the position of acting director of the Office of Women's Health. Dr. Norris Alderson will replace Dr. Susan Wood, a key women's health expert, who resigned on August 31 in protest of the FDA's handling of the application to make Plan B emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter." But then... perhaps in the wake of FEMA's Brownie Debacle... Dr. Alderson The Animal Husbandry Expert was removed and replaced by Dr. Theresa Tiogo. Hmm... but it seems that veterinarians are BIG in the FDA and especially in the area of women's health: 1) Bio of Vet & FDA Commish Lester Crawford AND 2) Bio of Vet & FDA Assisstant Commish Linda Tollefson (PDF). I guess we now know what the GOP view of women REALLY IS. I'm sure they all believe we need some lessons in forced conception via animal husbandry and instead of a pelvic exam to determine health, they will touch our nose to see if it is cool and moist. Instead of mammograms, will we be told to pee on a fire hydrant?
InformationClearingHouse: "The plan is very simple, but not obvious on 1st blush. Make sure that all the money is gone from the US treasury, make sure the deficits are so great that all social & educational programs are cut, increase the military & security budgets to "protect our nation" w/all these monies going to corporations & security firms who are extra-national (not tied to any country, but actually more than multi-national in that they are outside the purview of any nation at any single moment) and stave in the Soc Sec fund by allowing it to go to private corporations for "investment"-and you have the perfect scenario for saying, "only the private sector can save us-we're broke and they have the money to run every program, fund every program, but of course, at huge costs and profits for the private corporations." Our only resource will be the corporate lenders, especially the large extra-national corporations who will have loyalty to no one except their corporate coffers and large share owners throughout the world." Gulp... I... am... afraid...... I think this guy is really onto to Bush's diabolical grand plan.
Newsmax: "36 hrs after ex-pres Clinton bashed his son on everything from his handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis to the Iraq war, Bush 41 says he still likes Clinton. Appearing during commercial breaks on ABC's "Monday Night Football," Bush Sr was asked how he and Clinton managed to get along: "I like him," Bush 41 said. Given 2 more opportunities to comment on his relationship with Clinton, Bush Sr declined to say a single negative word about his successor." Hmm, maybe even Bush the Elder realizes what a complete fuck-up and embarrassment W is as a GOPer, as a Bush, and as a Prez. John Kerry & John Edwards spoke separately on Mon, but their messages were nearly identical: the govt's handling of Katrina, the Iraq War and the broader issues of poverty rates a grade of "F". 1) Kerry said: "FEMA's Michael Brown was to Hurricane Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq; George Tenet is to 'slam dunk intelligence'what Pres Bush is to 'Mission Accomplished' and 'Wanted Dead or Alive.' The bottom line is simple: The 'we'll do whatever it takes' administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done." Amen! 2) Edwards said: "When the only shot many people have is a good job rebuilding N.O., the president intervened to suspend prevailing wage laws so his contractor friends can cut wages for a hard day's work. If the Great Depression brought forth Hoovervilles, these trailer towns, which house the poor, may someday be known as Bushvilles." Gee, I'm willing to bet that Bush's favorite character in "It's a Wonderful Life" is Mr Potter.
Wash Post: "The FBI is joining the Bush administration's War on Porn. Early last month, the FBI began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. The FBI is describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney Gen Gonzales and of FBI Dir Mueller. The new squad will divert 8 agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults. "I guess this means we've won the war on terror. We must not need any more resources for espionage," said 1 exasperated FBI agent." Whoa. What will all of those Redstaters and wealthy corporate donors (who just adore porn) do when they are not able to pick up a spank mag, buy a DVD of Sorority Sluts or profit from such sales? And what about porn star Mary Carey and her pimp/ porn boss Mark Kulkis? Guess sucking up to the GOPers at that dinner and handing them a GIANT check amounts to squat, eh?
Guardian UK: "UK troops used tanks Monday to break down the walls of a prison in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and free 2 undercover Brit soldiers who were seized earlier in the day by local Iraqi police. An official from the Iraqi interior ministry said half a dozen tanks had broken down the walls of the jail and troops had then stormed it to free the 2 British soldiers. The governor of Basra condemned the "barbaric aggression" of British forces in storming the jail. Dozens of Iraqi prisoners also fled in the confusion." Hmm, when the Coaltion troops clash w/the Iraqi police... ya know this can't be a good sign.
Mission Accomplished, eh Grover?
The Swift Report: Conservatives and Americans of all higher incomes are mourning the loss of 1 of their own today, Grover Norquist. The founder of Americans for Tax Reform reportedly drowned himself in his bathtub, despondent over the outpouring of govt aid to victims of Hurriane Katrina. Friends of the anti-tax activist say that Norquist was devastated in the aftermath of the storm as the mainstream media consistently exaggerated the plight of those displaced by the hurricane, and all but ignored the most vulnerable Americans--those vicitmized by the Estate Tax. "He just screamed at his TV that whole wk after the storm hit that the richest 1% of Americans would continue to suffer," says 1 longtime friend of Norquist.
RasmussenReports: 35% now say that Bush has done a good or excellent job responding to Katrina and its aftermath. That's down from 39% before his speech from N.O. 41% give Bush poor marks for handling the crisis, that's up 37% before the speech. Rove the Toad must be shitting kittens over this news. Guess Jane/John Doe don't like having their TV shows scrapped and I guess they just don't like YOU Mr Bush.
Chicago Tribune: Americans have shown they are willing to give to charity, for a total of $250 billion last yr alone. But now, amid pleas for aid after Katrina, Bush & Co has launched an effort to raise contributions for the govt's attempt to rebuild Iraq. Forget the fact that more than $30 billion in taxpayer funds have been appropriated for Iraqi reconstruction, Bush & Co launched an online-based fundraising effort that is aimed at giving Americans "a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq." A site, called Iraq Partnership.Org, is offering potential contributors a choice of 8 projects, each seeking $10,000 or less. They include purchasing computers to assist Iraqi entrepreneurs, buying furniture and supplies for Iraqi elementary/ high schools, paying for the production of posters to promote "awareness of disabilities and rights issues," and buying water pumps for farmers. There is also a general Iraq country fund, offering donors "another high-impact giving opportunity w/out making them have to specify a project." The govt says all contributions are tax deductible, and so far, $39 has been donated since the project was launched Sept 9th. Hmm, maybe the fact that $1 billion dollars has been plundered from Iraq's defense ministry is contributing to the pathetic $39 amount, eh? B/c honestly, don't we taxpayers have enough of our hard earned money PISSED AWAY by the govt & how many of us want to give charitable money to an illegal war that should have NEVER happened in the 1st place? Bush and his cabal of Neo-Cons wanted this war... let them pay for it.
AFP: 1) Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, w/no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq war diverted US attention from the war on terrorism and undermined the support that we might have had." 2) On Katrina, Clinton faulted the authorities' failure to evacuate N.O. ahead of the storm's strike on Aug 29: "If we really wanted to do it right, we would have had lots of buses lined up to take them out." He agreed that some responsibility for this lay w/ the local & state authorities, but pointed the finger, w/out naming specific names, at FEMA & Homeland Security as having no experience of disaster management. 3) Clinton said this about the deficit: "What Americans need to understand is that every single day of the yr, our govt goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and tax cuts that benefitted just the richest 1% of the US population- myself included. We depend on Japan, China, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the yr to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don't think it makes any sense. We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else." Stop talking common sense Bill. Hey... didn't you once get a BJ? Well, then that blowjob trumps ANY and ALL of Bush's MANY, MANY crimes and misdemeanors, buddy... yeh, right.
NewsTelegraphUK: Refugees from N.O. died after private doctors were ordered to stop giving treatment because they were not covered by US govt medical liability insurance, according to 2 American surgeons. Dr Mark Perlmutter arrived at N.O.'s airport w/Dr Clark Gerhart, and Alison Torrens, a med student at Aberdeen University. All 3 had volunteered their services free of charge, and both doctors had worked during the 9/11 attacks. However, were told they could not work in N.O. w/out Fema credentials, which could not be issued even though they had their medical licenses w/them. An estimated 20 to 30 patients died at the temporary hospital that day. Please visit Karena for her post on this issue. Karena is the Queen of Satire... but she's not laughing about this. I just have to wonder how many in the WH are pleased w/this.
Compare and Contrast: Bush vs Clinton
Lily-white Prez stands several feet away from the black mother and child... YET... takes full advantage of the camera and stops to smile NEXT to these "poor black folks". The mom's face is abso-fucking-lutely priceless. What I wouldn't give to read her mind...
Both photos courtesy of Al Rodgers.
Here is what a REAL president does in the presence of his fellow Americans. Notice, Clinton-- our last ELECTED President by the way-- holds the little girl close and is not afraid of "catching her regular working class/ minority cootiees"? Clinton is holding her in the same way my hubby and I and all of our friends and family hold our baby-girl. That would be b/c Clinton is HUMAN and has a soul & heart.
This is- by the way- the last "free" access we will all have to the NY Times' op/ed pieces-- unless we feel like shelling out a cool $50 per yr. I haven't decided what to do... but most of me says: "F-ck 'em... my kiddo needs that $50 bucks- the Times does not" but we shall see. Anyhoo, check out Frank Rich's op/ed "I Care About the Black Folks". His comparison to the Wizard of Oz and W is masterful: "Once Toto parts the curtain, the Wizard of Oz can never be the wizard again. He is forever Prof Marvel, blowhard and snake-oil salesman. Katrina, which is likely to endure in the American psyche as long as L. Frank Baum's mythic tornado, has similarly unmasked George W. Bush." Tis sheer genius.
FL Paper Showcasing FEMA's Fraud & F-Ups
Editor & Publisher: A 2 day investigative series that the South FL Sun-Sentinel will publish starting this Sunday says that the wretched performance of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina is the rule rather than the exception for the agency. FEMA's bungling during Katrina came as no surprise to the Sun-Sentinel, says Editor/ Sr VP Earl Mauker."We actually called for Michael Brown's resignation a yr ago," he said, referring to the FEMA head who resigned earlier this wk. The paper has been on FEMA's case since last yr when its computer assisted investigation turned up massive fraud and waste in the wake of Hurricane Frances. FEMA, the paper found, had paid millions of dollars in claims in Miami/Dade County -even though the hurricane made landfall 100 miles away. "It was absolutely incredible. In Miami, the hurricane never hit, it never came on shore, and we found FEMA paid out $31 million for a storm that never came ashore," Mauker said. Perhaps Brown and FEMA needed to grease the palms of all of those potential Presidential Election voters in FL who might pay back the favor by giving a paid-for vote to George W Bush.
Check out this satirical op/ed in The Oregonian: "A high-level WH official explained today that problems in the war in Iraq have been largely caused by state/ local govt failures. The idea that having a US Dept of Defense makes war an exclusively fedrl responsibility, he noted, is as mistaken as the impression that having a Federal Emergency Management Agency means that a fedrl agency should manage emergencies... Speaking on condition of anonymity, the WH official cited Hurricane Katrina as an example of the shortcomings of state/ local govt. Local authorities, he says, were very slow getting their troop transport helicopters, naval vessels and armored personnel carriers involved in the rescue effort. They also missed clear public-private partnership opportunities. W/ 30,000 people in the N.O.'s Superdome, he noted, nobody thought to contract for concession stands selling hot dogs, beer or T-shirts reading "I survived Katrina -- w/out fedrl interference." Man oh man, I bet Karl Rove is pissed to the gills that he didn't come up w/this spin to pass the buck, huh?
Editor & Publisher: The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, MS, has obtained a copy of an internal e-mail the US Dept of Justice sent out this wk to various US attorneys' offices. Reporter Jerry Mitchell’s conclusion: "Fedrl officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show." He quotes from the e-mail: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (US) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting NO? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation." Nice. Real nice. When all else fails, blame the tree-hugging hippies. Except ya have to ignore the fact that it was the responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers (controlled by the feds-- not local or state mind you) to maintain the levees. Here is the Corps Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide quality, responsive engineering services to the nation including: Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (Navigation, Flood Control, Environmental Protection, Disaster Response, etc.) And here is the index to the Corps Public Works Page. Notice almost every one of these is water/flood related...but those damned sandal wearing hippies hindered the feds!
Bush's Jackson Square Speech: I Just Laughed
MSNBC: My hubby, baby girl and I listened to Bush's speech in the car while picking up a very late dinner pizza (hubby worked late). We were just rolling & cracking up at some pts of the speech: 1) NOLA will be rebuilt and much of the work should include local workers/ companies. Really? Then why is your minion Rove the Toad overseeing the rebuilding? (via NY Times): "Repubs said Rove, the WH deputy chief of staff and Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of govt." Can we say cronyism, anyone? Looks like Josh at Talking Points Memo sees the cronyism/ Halliburton no-bid contracts writing on the wall: "Rove runs political operations and manages coalitions through patronage. That's what he does. And that's what this is about... Take the politics out of the reconstruction effort. Bush put his chief spin-doctor in charge of the biggest reconstruction and refugee crisis the country's probably ever faced. That tells you all you need to know about his values. Nothing that happened in the last couple wks meant anything to him. And nothing has changed. Same as Iraq. Same stuff." Amen brother Josh. 2) Bush says we need to "fix" the rampant poverty problems in the Gulf and the racial issues. We just looked at each other in the car and laughed & laughed. Well then, how does Bush & the GOP explain the addition of 4.1 million MORE people added to the the poverty level since 2000, and how can they possibly back up the wealthy tax breaks, repealing the estate tax, wanting to gut Soc Sec, killing the availability of bankruptcy for those who need it, slashing every single social program needed and used by the poor/ mid class, and deep wage cuts for the people who will do the reconstruction work by suspending the Davis-Bacon Act? As Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) said in his statement out this evening: "W/ a stroke of the pen, in one of his 1st Katrina directives, the President cut the wages of the workers who will undertake our largest reconstruction project since the Civil War." So, let's recap: The Katrina Reconstruction will turn into the Iraq Reconstruction Sequel w/the same Halliburton cronyism & the same fleecing of tax-payers' money, and how can we credibly believe Bush's goal to lessen poverty/ racial tensions when he's so responsible for the huge gap between the rich & poor/ black & white? Tax breaks for the rich = putting more in the pockets of those who don't need it, while slashing medicaid, food stamps, and other programs which the poor and minorities heavily depend upon. Those actions are not compatible. Bush has cleared the path so workers will be forced to take less pay, and not get the prevailing wage of the area in all the places devastated by Katrina. What does that mean? Well, rich people will get richer, while being able to pay people less- the very people who will work hard to rebuild the region. And who needs those jobs most? The poor, those w/out homes, or with homes nearly destroyed, and Bush's answer is to pull the rug out from under them. Bush's lies are pathological and reveal Bush's true sociopathic inability to be human. No wonder John Kerry said this about Bush after the speech: "Leadership isn't a speech or a toll-free number. Leadership is getting the job done. No American doubts that New Orleans will rise again, but they do doubt the competence and commitment of this Administration." Read this from MSNBC to see some early reactions to Bush's speech.