Friday, December 30, 2005
My New Year's Wishes to Everyone!
Hubby, BabyGirl and I will be spending New Year's Eve at home w/ my best friend Alyssa and her new boyfriend Jimmy, and w/ our friends Kim and Chris (Chris just got back from Iraq). There will be planty of eating, drinking & enjoying to go 'round, but it will mainly be a low-key night (b/c let's face it, our 3 yr old will be there, and Kim just found out she is expecting. Congrats! May mommy & baby be oh-so-healthy!) but it will also be a tame night b/c all I can think of to aptly sum up my feelings about the yr 2005 is John Lennon's beautiful song 'Happy Christmas/War is Over': Have a very merry Christmas... And a happy New Year... Let's hope it's a good one... Without any fear... War is over... If you want it... War is over... Now. Yeh, let's all hope so John... and to all members of my sweet blog family and to any anonymous readers, please have a safe and Happy New Year and let's all hope and pray for a better 2006. May we all be happier, healthier, more prosperous, and more free from tyranny than we were in 2005. Let's ring in '06 w/great expectations-- and not the crushing despair and panic for our children's futures that we all felt in the marrow of our bones last yr after Nov's elections...b/c these times, they are a changing... one can just feel it in the air.
If this article doesn't chill your blood, then you must be inhuman... or Republican... which by the way usually means you are inhuman. WashPost: "Everything is done in the name of self-defense, so they can do anything because nothing is forbidden in the war powers act,'' said 1 official who was briefed on the CIA's original cover program and who is skeptical of its legal underpinnings. "It's an amazing legal justification that allows them to do anything,'' said the official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issues. (What a shock... Bush believes the US truly is his personal monarchy) The interpretation undergirds the administration's determination not to waver under public protest or the threat of legislative action. For example, after The WashPost disclosed the existence of secret prisons in several E. European democracies, the CIA closed them down because of an uproar in Europe. But the detainees were moved elsewhere to similar CIA prisons, referred to as "black sites'' in classified documents. The CIA has stuck with its overall approaches, defending and in some cases refining them. (Here this article gets all eerily X-Files-esque and creepy): The agency is working to establish procedures in the event a prisoner dies in custody. One proposal circulating among mid-level officers calls for rushing in a CIA pathologist to perform an autopsy and then quickly burning the body, according to two sources. WTF? Destroying all evidence to ensure that none are wiser? This is an absolute nightmare of mammoth proportions, and they try to justify it w/this crap: "The exec branch will not pull back unless it has to,'' said a former Justice Dept lawyer involved in the initial discussions on exec power. "B/c if it pulls back unilaterally and another attack occurs, it will get blamed.'' Why shouldn't we blame them? They actively allowed the 1st set of attacks, so why should we think for 1 sec that they wouldn't have a demonic hand in any future attacks?
NewYorker (Oct27/03 edition): Hersh suggested that retired CIA officers created the Niger forgeries in order to bring to light the administation's stovepiping of intelligence in the lead up to the Iraq invasion. Perhaps this "leak" about the NSA domestic spying is payback to BushCo for all of their MANY mistakes and perhaps for outing Valerie Plame. Speaking of Plame, check out this from CNN: Plame's 5yr old son says to reporter: "My mommy is a secret spy." I'm shocked that Rove isn't now running around screaming from the rooftops that it was her kid who outed her and not him.
Hughes for America:Truth About Religious Fright
Please read Hughes for America's post "A nut is a nut is a nut". It succinctly sums up the outta control insanity, hypocrisy, hatred, and intolerance of the Christian Wrongwing and the media who fawns all over them... ahem... Fox News.
HuffPost: Martin Garbus says: "It is safe to predict there will be coverups. This administration is not known for its candor. The coverup starts by trying to get away with the vauge and meaningless defenses. Both Nixon and Clinton tried that. When that doesn’t work, the coverup will be based on a foundation of small lies. Both Nixon and Clinton tried that. We do not yet know what the FISA judges already fear – that they have been not just ignored by the executive but misused. The public shall also learn about the FISA judges’ misuse of the FISA courts and their warrants. The courts were created to permit eavesdropping and electronic surveillance, not physical break-ins. But the facts will show that the Bush administration, w/ the knowledge, and at times, the consent of, the FISA judges, conducted illegal physical break-ins - break-ins that to this day, the involved person, is unaware of." Well, I imagine the spin to cover this latest BushCo crime will be expansive... but hopefully ads like this one from the ACLU will get America talking and pondering about this latest Bush crime.
Perhaps if Bush and his Imperialistic Neo-Convicts took the time to read history and research the ethnicities (say like the Arabs, Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites, and secularists for example) and the long standing ethnic struggles inside the land that the US has waged war w/twice in less than 15yrs, the simmering civil war that seems inevitable in Iraq could have been avoided. Who the fuck am I kidding? Planning ahead and doing research is not the MO of this cabal of fiends, and they could care less if a civil war means our troops will be sacrificed in the middle of it all.
Think about this will ya?... The Big Dick refuses to report travel costs (even though WE the TAX PAYING PUBLIC pick up the tab for his expenses and deserve to know what we're paying for)... YET we taxpayers had to sit back and watch the House Govt Reform and Oversight Committee, investigate whether taxpayers were footing the cost of stationery and postage for the fan club dedicated to President Clinton’s cat, Socks. (They weren't & Bush Sr's dog Millie had a fan club too.)
Yahoo: UN official Craig Jenness, said at a news conference organized by the Independent Electoral Comm of Iraq that his UN-led internatl election assistance team found the elections to be fair. OK. So who exactly is this Canadian Craig Jenness and the OSCE? Well, it appears that Bush is A-okay w/this Jenness guy... as are many other GOPers, so that fact alone makes me question how fair and impartial his declaration about the Iraqi election really is.
ArizonaDailyStar: "Let the student decide." With those words John McCain summed up his view on the teaching of "intelligent design" along w/evolution in public schools. That's great. So when do students get to decide what role the Flying Spaghetti Monster played in all this?
Moving America BACKWARDS w/Lying TV Ads that Falsely Claim Iraq Had WMDs
You have got to be fucking kidding me... seriously... you have got to be fucking kidding me b/c I am completely floored by this insanity: Wingnuts from Move America Foward (yeh, foward and over the fucking cliff) are now HISTORY REVISIONISTS by now spewing that old Bush lie that "Iraq had WMDs and that Saddam & al Qaeda were in cahoots" by paying for a series of tv LIES (via the WSJ): "The tv commercials are attention-grabbing: Newly found Iraqi documents show that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs, including anthrax and mustard gas, and had "extensive ties" to al Qaeda. The discoveries are being covered up by those "willing to undermine support for the war on terrorism to selfishly advance their shameless political ambitions." Yeh, the Duelfer Report, the 9/11 Commission, the WH itself, and all of those US troops in Iraq who have not turned up 1 single WMD are all selfishly advancing their own political ambitions. Why don't ya try this: STFU, then STFU and then please, STFU.
Just when you thought that Halliburton and it's lapping-up-the-blood-money subsidiaries couldn't get any worse, The Chicago Tribune exposes this nasty lil practice of human trafficking by Halliburton's subsidiaries, and the Pentagon's refusal to stop and ban contractors from using slave labor. Oh yeh... family values my ass. Nice to see that our tax dollars and the wartime needs of the US military are fueling an illicit pipeline of cheap foreign labor slaves.
NYTimes: Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the NSA used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to al Qaeda. The lawyers said that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the govt w/held critical info or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were targeted for investigation. Some Justice Dept prosecutors, speaking on condition of anonymity because the NSA program remains classified, said they were concerned that the agency's warrantless wiretaps could create problems for the dept in terrorism prosecutions both past and future: "If I'm a defense attorney, the 1st thing I'm going to say in court is: This was an illegal wiretap." Nice job Bush. Add this to your lengthy f-up list.
Tenn Sen Jeff Miller was upset that a local paper, the Bradley News Weekly, printed stories about him having a girlfriend before his divorce is finalized. He doesn't dispute the story mind you, but he doesn't like it. So he sent out a letter threatening potential advertisers: "Myself and many others are going to be watching in the next several wks to identify and remember those in this community that wish to subsidize the destructive nature of this type of publication in our community." The Bradley News Wkly response?: "Your platform is that of a guy who believes in the sanctity of marriage, and that marriage should be between 1 man and 1 woman. And your behavior doesn't support your platform. So, we report it." WOW... a bitchslap as sound as that is a thing of immense beauty. Sniff... sniff... it kinda takes your breath away and brings a tear to the 'ole eye, eh?
1)Lay and Skilling have got to be shitting kittens over this turn of events: "Richard Causey was scheduled to go to trial Jan 17 along w/former Chrmn Ken Lay and former CEO Jeff Skilling. All 3 men previously have pled not guilty to charges ranging from fraud to conspiracy related to schemes that led to the company's '01 bankruptcy. Prosecutors are now expected to gain valuable ammunition in their case against Enron's former top 2 officials when ex-Chief Accounting Officer Causey enters a guilty plea this afternoon." I wonder if Bush will feel bad for his dear friend 'ole Kenny-Boy? 2) Despite the claims by GOP talking heads (including Bush himself) there are ZERO Dems who took money from Jack Abramoff: "Most received less than $10K, but 25 lawmakers received $21.5K or more. 20= Repubs and 5= Dems, but none of the Dems received money directly from Abramoff." Simply put: "Jack's lobbying firms and some of his clients gave to Dems as well the GOP. While those are Abramoff-connected donations, they are not the same as Jack's personal checks to candidates. Jack only gave his donations to Repubs, and no amount of lying will change the facts of Abramoff's donations as shown here and here. Piss off GOP. You own this criminal debacle outright.
Holy Crap! When Barrons says impeachment is warranted for Bush's wiretapping and when Federalist Society members doubt Bush's legal standing on the use of warrantless wiretaps (PDF), ya know things are shaky for BushCo. Either that or Hell has truly frozen over.
As if they haven't been bent over and raped enough by this prez and admin, vets now have this to contend w/if they have PTSD (as over 16,000 returning vets from Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD) : WashPost: "It has become a pro-war vs antiwar issue," said 1 VA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because politics is not supposed to enter the debate. "If we show that PTSD is prevalent and severe, that becomes 1 more little reason we should stop waging war. If, on the other hand, PTSD rates are low . . . that is convenient for the Bush admin." Add in this: "Some experts say PTSD is diagnosed too readily. PTSD went from being problematic being accepted as a condition, to being almost too easily accepted. The govt is going to take a new look at the claims of about a 3rd of the military vets who now get disability payments for PTSD... b/c the funding is simply not available to meet all claims." And then finally, to make matters worse, there is a new plan to "deal with" PTSD: Faith based treatment...Yep. Prayer will somehow magically wipe away PTSD. C'mon... these people are suffering b/c they served in a war. They saw & did horrific things and then suffer as a direct result of war. What if you're an atheist suffering from PTSD? Guess it just sucks to them, eh? But then again, when hasn't it sucked to be a member of the military under Il Duce Bush? And if they can get away w/ "Pray & Pick the Taxpayers' Pocket" it'll just be the icing on the cake for these greedy bastards.
A Poem that Bitchslaps The Mythical War on Christmas
It's 'ole St. Dick. Except he doesn't leave any presents. He only steals to make Halliburton's bank account fatter and lies to make the American people more frightened. Speaking of the Big Dick... Please read "How the liberals stole Christmas (or) A visit from St. Dick"... you won't be sorry.
This just cracked me up-if ya want to mess w/the "powers that be" who are doing the domestic spying, check this out:GreaterThings: "Echelon (here's proof they exist), under US's NSA and other world superpowers, can intercept 2 billion phone calls per day, along with faxes and e-mails and other electronic communications. Here's the words they're sniffing for...
Ya have to read this about the unbelievable list of folks Bush has been spying on. It would make J. Edgar Hoover proud... or so excited he'd want to slap on his "special" celebratory lace panties.
GuardianUK: Robert Tuttle, a Beverly Hills car dealer and major donor to George Bush's re-election campaign, has been ambassador in London only since the summer, but he is proving to be accident-prone. Last month he vigorously denied Brit media reports that US forces used white phosphorus as a weapon in Iraq, only to be undercut by an admission from the Pentagon the next day. Now, Tuttle has more explaining to do: The US embassy in London was forced to issue a correction Monday to an interview given by the ambassador Tuttle, in which he claimed US would not fly suspected terrorists to Syria, which has 1 of the worst torture records in the Middle East. A statement acknowledged media reports of a suspect taken from the US to Syria. Asked by the BBC if the US dumped suspects in Syria, Tuttle said: "I don't think there is any evidence that there have been any renditions carried out in the country of Syria. There is no evidence of that. And I think we have to take what Sec Rice says at face value. It is something very important, it is done very carefully and she has said we do not authorize, condone torture in any way, shape or form." A US embassy spokeswoman contacted the BBC on Friday to say the ambassador "recognized that there had been a media report of a rendition to Syria but reiterated that the US is not in a position to comment on specific allegations of intelligence activities that appear in the press".
CapitolHillBlue: Journalist Doug Thompson defends his news about Bush calling the Constitution "a Goddamned piece of paper". Just b/c the corporate media whores aren't reporting this doesn't make the story false. And since Bush has figuratively whipped it out and pissed on all of our civil rights, is it really so unbelievable that he would say out loud what his actions have already proven time and time again?
Here's BabyGirl's Christmas pix. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday... take that O'Reilly. Over the river and thru the woods to Hubby's Grandmother's house we go... and then Christmas dinner will be spent w/my family at my house Sunday. Hubby, BabyGirl and I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & a healthy, happy New Year.
Favorite Christmas memories... please share.
I know that this is pretty much a purely political blog, but since it is Christmas, I though I'd put a "personal only" kind of post and I hope you will share your responses with me. This is taken directly from my friend Gary the Canadian at WithinSight. Here was my response to his question: What is your best and worst Christmas memory?
"Best: The first Christmas my husband and I spent together as a married couple. We only had enough money to buy the tree. We had zero ornaments to put on it and no money to buy any. My sisters, mom, and best friend all went out separately and bought us strings of lights-- but NO ornaments. Not a single one of them bought us any ornaments! How that happened is beyond me, but it was the brightest and most beautiful tree. It was so bright (from the almost 1500) lights it had on it that it hurt your eyes to stare at it, and made the corner of the room at least 20 degrees warmer. Man oh man, how we loved that tree.
Worst: The Christmas after we suffered a miscarriage.
Share your best/worst Christmas memories with me.
WAPost: Former Sen Tom Daschle has refuted the Admin's claim that the resolution passed by Congress in the wake of 9/11 implicitly gave the Pres the right to authorize warrantless eavesdropping and domestic espionage. Daschle argues that Congress went out of its way to reject the WH's attempts to grab additional Executive power, including Bush's request (that Congress REJECTED) for "war-making authority in the US". Daschle said: "Literally mins before the Senate cast its vote, the admin sought to add the words 'in the United States and' after 'appropriate force' in the agreed-upon text. This last-min change would have given the pres broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas--where we all understood he wanted authority to act--but right here in the US, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused." Daschle wrote that Congress also rejected draft language from the WH that would have authorized the use of force to "deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the US,'' not only against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. So, I guess that carefully worded letter that the Administration sent up to Congress Thurs was based on a faulty premise, eh? Once again, if Bush can't find a justification for his actions, then they were illegal, unauthorized, unconstitutional, and wrong. Grasping at broad, implied Executive power doesn't cut it--Bush broke a specific law and only a specific punishment will suffice. I-m-p-e-a-c-h-m-e-n-t.
1) In Afghanistan, it is so refreshing to see that democracy is allowing the freedom of the press... via the WAPost: "An Afghan journalist who was recently sentenced to 2 yrs in prison for publishing controversial magazine articles about Islam, women's rights and the Afghan justice system will be released from jail later this wk, officials said. Before gaining his freedom, however, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab had to confront an agonizing choice: formally apologize for what he had published or risk being sent to the gallows after refusing for 3 months to retract his comments. His "heinous crimes"? He printed stories that asserted women should be given status equal to men in crt, questioned the use of physical punishments for crimes and suggested converts from Islam should not face execution. 2) In Iraq, a coalition of more than 60 political parties threatened to boycott Iraq's next parliament and warned of a surge in violence if new nationwide elections were not held b/c they said that the elections were fraudulent. more than 1,500 complaints have been made, including 39 deemed serious enough to affect results, election officials have said. Oh yeh, freedom is sooo on the march when jrnalists are nearly hanged & Dieboldesque fraud happens.
I was searching the LOGO channel's site for their programming (my gay best friend requested that I record a gay comedian for him)-- I have satellite tv which has LOGO/ he has cable which does not... when I came across this news story: "The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network condemned Pentagon officials for spying on civilian groups—especially student groups that are opposed to "don't ask, don't tell." The group said it plans to file a Freedom of Information Act request to try and learn if other LGBT groups have been targeted. NBC News noted that Pentagon investigators had records pertaining to April protests at the State Univ of NY at Albany and William Patterson College in NJ. A Feb protest at NYU was also listed, along w/the law school’s LGBT advocacy group OUTlaw, which was classified as "possibly violent" by the Pentagon (WTF? are they afraid of a drag queen beating somebody's ass with a pair of heels?). A Univ of CA, Santa Cruz, "don't ask, don't tell" protest that included a gay kiss-in was labeled as a “credible threat” of terrorism (a kiss-in is terrorism? WTF? what kind of kisses are they giving out?). The Servicemembers Legal Def Network exec director C. Dixon Osburn said: "The Pentagon seems to constantly find new and more offensive ways to demean lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. First, we were deemed unfit to serve our country, despite winning wars, medals, and the praise of fellow service members. Then, our sexual orientation was suggested as a means to destabilize the enemy. Now, our public displays of affection are equated with al Qaeda terrorist activity. It is time for new Pentagon policy consistent w/ the views of 21st century America." Jeeze-- 1st in Jan '05, the Dept of Def confirmed a report that Air Force officials proposed developing a chemical weapon in 1994 that would turn enemies gay and now "kiss-ins" are a form of terrorism?... WOW... what kind of closeted gay bashing/ self-loathing queens do we have workin at the Pentagon, anyway?
Is this why the House of Reps is holding late-nite voting sessions? Could it be that they don'tt want the world to know that they are slashing military pay for every branch? Listed below are the funds devoted to paying our military personnel in 2006 compared to 2005:
Branch------Year 2005-------Year 2006------------Change------------%Change
Army $29,507,672,000--- $24,357,895,000--- (-)$5,149,777,000--- (-)17.5%
Navy $24,416,157,000--- $19,417,696,000--- (-)$4,998,461,000--- (-)20.5%
Marines $9,591,102,000--- $7,839,813,000--- (-)$1,751,289,000--- (-)18.3%
Air Force $24,291,411,000--$20,083,037,000--(-)$4,208,374,000--(-)17.3%
Army Res $3,719,990,000--- $2,862,103,000--- (-)$857,887,000--- (-)23.1%
Navy Res $2,108,232,000--- $1,486,061,000--- (-)$622,171,000--- (-)29.5%
Marines Res $653,073,000--- $472,392,000--- (-)$180,681,000--- (-)27.7%
AirFrcRes $1,451,950,000--- $1,225,360,000--- (-)$226,590,000--- (-)15.6%
ArmyGrd $5,915,229,000--- $4,359,704,000--- (-)1,555,525,000--- (-)26.3%
AirFrcGrd $2,536,742,000--- $2,028,215,000--- (-)508,527,000--- (-)20.0%
So, ya have to wonder, what will do Rummy w/that vast 3 fold increase he received in discretionary funding?
Yes Tricky Dick... we did. And sadly, how wrong we were.
These quotes just made me laugh and laugh. I hope you'll laugh too, b/c if we don't laugh at this obscene slip towards fascism... we'll all be crying. 1) WH press secretary Scott McClellan would not discuss Robertson's resignation or the reasons cited for his departure. "Judge Robertson did not comment on the matter and I don't see any reason why we need to," McClellan said. TRANSLATION: "Dammit to hell! This makes Herr Bushler look really, really, really bad... so I'll do what I do best: lie and ignore." 2) VP Dick Cheney strongly defended the surveillance program and called for "strong and robust" presidential powers: "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it, b/c executive authority has been eroding since the Watergate & Vietnam eras. Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970s, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the pres needs to be effective, especially in the natl security area." TRANSLATION: "Ever since those peacenik liberals dared to question the bloodletting in Vietnam- which I didn't serve in b/c I had better things to do by the way- and ever since those pissy rule followin' liberals dared to say 1 word about Nixon's crimes and secret tapings, this monarchy... err... fascism... err... this presidential gig has been tough to commit crimes under."
Yes... how dare a judge have standards? Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Crt, sent a letter to Chief Jus Roberts late Monday notifying him of his resignation w/out providing an explanation. 2 associates familiar w/his decision said that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the pres in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA crt's work. Scott Silliman, a former Air Force attorney and Duke Univ law professor said: "This was definitely a statement of protest. It is unusual because it signifies that at least 1 member of the crt believes that the pres has exceeded his legal authority." (And let's be serious here, the crt has only denied 5 requests for warrants out of nearly 19,000 granted over the yrs). Other judges contacted said they do not plan to resign but are seeking more info about the president's initiative... uh... yeh, do ya think? Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who also sits on the US District Crt for DC, told fellow FISA crt members by e-mail Mon that she is arranging for them to convene in DC, preferably early next month, for a secret briefing on the program, several judges confirmed. Good for Judge Robertson for resigning from this very secret crt, whose sole duty it is to only hear arguments from the govt as to why the crt should permit the activity. I guess even he has standards when it comes to govt abuse of power.
WEWSNews5Cleveland(via Yahoo): "A bill on Gov Bob Taft's desk right now is drawing a lot of criticism. 1 state representative said it resembles Gestapo-style tactics of govt, and there could be changes coming on the streets of OH's small towns and big cities. The OH Patriot Act has made it to Taft's desk, and w/ the stroke of a pen, it would most likely become the toughest terrorism bill in the country. The lengthy piece of legislation would let police arrest people in public places who will not give their names, address and birth dates, even if they are not doing anything wrong. WEWS reported it would also pave the way for everyone entering critical transportation sites such as, train stations, airports and bus stations to show ID. "It brings us frighteningly close to a show me your papers society," said Carrie Davis of the ACLU, which opposes the OH Patriot Act. There are many others who oppose the bill as well. "The variety of people who opposed to this is not just a group of the usual suspects. We have people far right to the left opposing the bill who think it is a bad idea," said Al McGinty, News Channel5's terrorism expert." (WTF? "WEWS's terrorism expert". How does one get THAT job? Are there lots of terrorists in Bratenahl and Pepper Pike?) Oh Sweet Jesus... I wonder if jack boots come in lil kid sizes? Guess Hubby and I will have to watch re-runs of Hogan's Heroes so we can teach BabyGirl how to produce her lil kid ID when asked: "Die papers pleeze!" Do ya think the YMCA offers goose-stepping classes?
1) As other right-wing bloggers start twisting the facts to suit their on vision of history the Republicans didn't let Clinton wiretap, and Think Progress does a more than thorough fact checking on the use of spying in the Clinton WH. 2) 9/11 widow and lawyer Kristen Breitweiser bitchslaps Bush on his spying and the claim he did it to protect us.
RAWStory: "Individuals close to the probe say Fitzgerald is still investigating other unnamed WH officials. This part of the investigation, like that of Rove, is focusing on whether these officials committed perjury, obstruction of justice or lied to fedrl investigators during the early days of the investigation (as opposed to violating an obscure law which makes it a crime to knowingly leak the name of an undercover CIA operative). The investigation is expected to shift back to top officials in the Office of the Vice Pres, the State Dept, the Natl Sec Council, and may even shed some light on the genesis of the Niger forgeries, lawyers close to the case say. It may also reveal how key players in the WH decided to expose Plame's undercover status and top secret front company, Brewster Jennings." Eyes shut tight... hands in prayer position... pretty please, pretty please!
I don't even know what to say about any of this, so I'll just provide the links and you can connect the dots. 1) Jesus' General of PatriotboyBlog. 2) Pistol 1557 at DailyKos... make sure you click on the Googled cached link to the original Fox News story at Pistol's post. Choice pick from the Fox story: "Bob Whitaker is a former Reagan admin cabinet member & an active member of (un-named organization). He believes diversity and equal rights are at the center of a conspiracy against the white race."
I'm beginning to think this is all the NYT is good for.
LATimes (via Left in SF): "The initial NYTimes statements did not say that the paper’s internal debate began before the Nov/2/04 presidential election (in which Iraq and natl security questions loomed large) or make any reference to Risen’s book, due out Jan 16. But 2 journalists, who declined to be identified, said that editors at the paper were actively considering running the story about the wiretaps before Bush’s Nov showdown w/ John Kerry. Top editors at the paper eventually decided to hold the story (hmm... the same editors who boot licked and coddled Judy the Bush-Shill Miller?) But the discussion was renewed after the election, w/ Risen and coauthor of the story, reporter Eric Lichtblau, joining some of the paper’s editors in pushing for publication, according to the sources, who said they did not want to be identified because the NYTimes had designated only Keller and a spokeswoman to address the matter." I'm beginning to think that the only thing the NYT is good for is lining a birdcage or a catbox.
Check out the report the Congressman is releasing at ConyersBlog and please sign Conyers' letter. Speaking of impeachment... Can you honestly imagine the aneurysm the GOP, Talibornagains, & Neo-Convicts would have had if Clinton would have said: "Yes, I did have oral sex w/that woman... and I'm gonna keep letting her kiss my baloney pony."
On Tues, Bush said of his domestic spying program: "So it's a program that's limited, and you brought up something that I want to stress, and that is, is that these calls are not intercepted within the country. They are from outside the country to in the country, or vice versa." Really? Then what about this: "A surveillance program approved by Bush to conduct eavesdropping w/o warrants has captured what are purely domestic communications in some cases, despite a requirement by the WH that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say." Hmm, I know that Bush is a moron, so maybe geography is tricky for him and he just doesn't know that these calls were purely inside the US, but how do you explain Att Gen Gonzales & Gen Michael Hayden saying this during their press briefing yesterday morning, Gonzales said: "People are running around saying that the US is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors," he said. "Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication has to be outside the US." I guess they must be as stupid as Bush, huh? Or maybe they are just as bad as Bush when it comes to ever telling the truth.
In defense of his domestic spying program, Bush offered 1 case as proof that authorities desperately needed the warrantless eavesdropping ability: In his radio address Sat, Bush said 2 of the hijackers who helped fly a jet into the Pentagon (Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar) had communicated w/ suspected Al Qaeda members overseas while they were living in the US. Bush said: "But we didn't know they were here until it was too late. The authorization I gave the NSA after 9/11 helped address that problem in a way that is fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities." Really? They were already being spied on by NSA, asshat. The incident Bush referred to involved at least 6 communications between a safe house in Yemen and the San Diego apartment rented by Alhazmi and Almihdhar. The Yemen site already had been linked directly to the Al Qaeda bombings of 2 US embassies in Africa in 98 and to the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Those links made the safe house 1 of the hottest targets being monitored by the NSA before the 9/11 attacks, and had been so for several yrs. Authorities also had traced the phone number at the safe house to Almihdhar's father-in-law, and believed then that 2 of his other sons-in-law already had killed themselves in suicide terrorist attacks. Such info should have set off alarm bells at the highest levels of the US govt. Under authority granted in fedrl law, the NSA already was listening in on that number in Yemen and could have tracked calls made into the US by getting a warrant under the FISA. Then the NSA could have (and should have) alerted the FBI, which then could have used the info to locate the future hijackers in San Diego and monitored their phone calls, e-mail and other activities. Instead, the NSA didn't disclose the existence of the calls until after 9/11, according to officials and US documents produced in 2 independent inquiries. The NSA was well aware of how hot the number was and how it was a logistical hub for Al Qaeda, and it was also calling the number in America half a dozen times after the Cole and before Sept 11, but NSA and the FBI did not fully coordinate their efforts, and, as a result, the opportunity to determine Almihdhar's presence in the US was lost, the 2002 report said. Hmm, so I guess the real problem was that the NSA & FBI never spoke to one another about these phone calls... not those pesky lil warrants, eh Bush?But what is the truth to a King like you?
Here we go again. WAPost: "The Pentagon's newest counterterrorism agency, charged w/ protecting military facilities/ personnel wherever they are, is carrying out intelligence collection, analysis and operations w/in the US and abroad. CIFA is a 3 yr old agency whose size and budget remain secret. It has grown from an agency that coordinated policy and oversaw the counterintelligence activities of units w/in the military services & Pentagon agencies to an analytic/ operational org w/9 directorates and ever widening authority." Gulp... "A former sr Pentagon intelligence official, familiar w/CIFA, said: 'They started w/force protection from terrorists, but when you go down that road, you soon are into everything."... err... WTF?... "CIFA manages the Pentagon database that includes Talon reports, consisting of raw, unverified info picked up by the military services on suspicious activities that could involve terrorist threats. The Pentagon acknowledged last wk that the Talon database contained reports on peaceful civilian protests and demonstrations that should have been purged long ago under Def Dept regulations." Peaceful civilian protestors? I guess they mean Catholic Workers, Quakers, vegans, etc. b/c God knows that peace-loving Christians & cow/chicken huggers are very dangerous.
WashTimes: "According to Bush, being pres in wartime means never having to concede co-equal branches of govt have a role when it comes to hidden encroachments on civil liberties. Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. He cannot be trusted to conduct the war against global terrorism w/ a decent respect for civil liberties and checks against exec abuses. Congress should swiftly enact a code that would require Bush to obtain legislative consent for every counterterrorism measure that would materially impair individual freedoms. Bush insisted in his radio address that the NSA targets only citizens "with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist orgs. Before we intercept these communications, the govt must have info that establishes a clear link to these terrorist organizations." But there are no checks on NSA errors or abuses, the hallmark of a rule of law as opposed to a rule of men. Truth and accuracy are the 1st casualties of war. Bush assured the world Iraq possessed WMDs before the 2003 invasion. He was wrong. Bush acclaimed the secret surveillance as "crucial to our natl security." But if that were justified, why was Congress not asked for authorization in light of the legal cloud created by FISA and the legislative branch's sympathies shown in the Patriot Act and joint resolution for war? FISA requires crt approval for natl security wiretaps, and makes it a crime for a person to intentionally engage "in electronic surveillance under color of law, except as authorized by statute." Bush maintained that, "As a result of the NSA disclosure, our enemies have learned info they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our natl security and puts our citizens at risk." But if secrecy were pivotal to the NSA's surveillance, why is the pres continuing the eavesdropping? And why is he so carefree about risking the liberties of both the living and those yet to be born by flouting the Constitution's separation of powers and conflating constructive criticism with treason?"
Calling our Northern Neighbors in Canada "retarded" makes me oh-so-proud... cough... hack... snark. That's right folks, please stand up and sing like the redneck you might be to 'Blame Canada' w/Sheila of South Park b/c God knows, Canada is responsible for America's ills...sigh...
Hmm... this info about the WH having secret dossiers on the "10,000 political enemies" of Bush came out on Nov 8/05... more than 1 full month before the NYT spying info came out... do we see a scary pattern?
Gonzales said Monday: ""That question was asked earlier. We've had discussions w/members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that -- and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program." Nice. When the Attorney Genrl of the US helps and encourages our Prez to toss aside our Bill of Rights and laws, ya know the shit is shady, lowdown and ILLEGAL.
Hmm... if the NSA spying was sooo lawful, why did Bush invite the head honchos of the NYTimes to the Oval Office on Dec 6/05 and beg and plead w/them not to publish the story after they had already sat on it for a yr? And the wingnut defense of this spying as merely done to stop another terrorist act? Well then why were Quaker Peace Groups, vegans, anti-poverty groups, environmental groups, and anti-animal cruelty groups spied on? I don't know about you, but most vegans I know are patchouli oil/ plastic shoe wearing peaceniks... not al Qaeda members. Thankfully, the talk of spy hearings and impeachment from Sen Barbara Boxer, Rep John Lewis, Rep Louise Slaughter is all due to these cold hard facts: Bush broke the law, he has repeatedly told us that he has broken the law, and he said he will continue to break the law. No one is above the law. Not even the Prez... remember Nixon and Clinton? And what about all of those people who supposedly knew about this spying? Well, Sen Harry Reid says this about it, and read Sen Jay Rockefeller's handwritten letter to Cheney about it.
Here are Bush's "defenses" (if ya can even call them that) of NSA spying w/o warrants: 1) "We've got to be fast on our feet, quick to detect and prevent." Bush said the NSA eavesdropping program lets the govt move faster than the standard practice of seeking a crt authorized warrant under the (FISA)Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 2) The prez said the authority to bypass the crt derived from the Constitution and Congress' vote authorizing the use of military force after 9/11 when a congressional joint resolution passed Sept 14/01, that allows the prez to use whatever force he deems necessary to stop acts of terrorism. Both answers are complete and utter crap. Here's why: 1) The FISA of 1978 set up a secret fedrl crt that must approve requests for the NSA to conduct surveillance against anyone in the USA suspected of being an "agent of a foreign power," such as a terrorist group BUT there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a US person is a party (so, average US citizens are exempt from surveillance & protected by 4th Amend). When you need a wiretap, the FISA allows you to apply for 1. When you need it yesterday, FISA allows you to place the tap immediately and retroactively clear it with a judge 72 hrs later. So, they could have started spying on people immediately and then asked for a warrant, and the FISA crt is as big a rubber stamp as you can possibly get w/in the fedrl judiciary b/c from 1979 through 2004 it granted 18,761 warrants and rejected 5. Fewer than 100 had to be modified. 2) The Sept 14/01 vote gave Bush the power to throw away the Bill of Rights and every other law? Don't think so: Please visit Glenn Greenwald's post called "The new "constitutional" excuse for warrantless eavesdropping on Americans" and others knew about this and gave their ok?: Read the LATimes article and see what Senators and Reps have to say about this. The only person claiming everybody knew and was on board?-- The Big Dick Cheney. And what about these lil gems from Bush himself about wiretaps? (hat tip JLFinch): 1) When he was in NYC in April 04: "Now, by the way, any time you hear the US govt talking about wiretap, it requires-a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution." AND this 2) When he was in WI in July 04: "A couple of things that are very important for you to understand about the Patriot Act. First of all, any action that takes place by law enforcement requires a court order. In other words, the govt can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order." So W... were ya lying then or are you lying now?Here's how we know you're lying: Your lips are moving.
I don't know about you, but when I got to church I don't want or expect them to lecture me about prescription drugs, so when I go to a pharmacy I certainly do not appreciate, expect or want a pharmacist to drag his/her church into my prescriptions. Just DO your DAMN job, STFU and save the sermons for Sunday at the pulpit.
This op/ed by Ted Rall "The War Over Our Genitals" (via The Smirking Chimp) makes a pt which sums up precisely why pharmacists cannot refuse to perform the duties that their job and training requires of them: "When a soldier refuses an order to shoot someone, it's virtually impossible to obtain 'conscientious objector' status. A soldier who refuses to kill faces a crt martial and possible prison sentence. But when a pharmacist refuses to dispense a drug that would prevent a woman from becoming pregnant with her rapist's child, he's merely 'following his principles'--and enjoys the support of his state legislature." When a soldier refuses to kill, the retort is usually this: You knew what being a soldier entailed. You knew that you might have to kill and go to war. You can't later claim that you can't perform the duties that your job and training requires. Well, pharmacists know what being a drug dispenser entails. Pharmacists know that their job and training requires them to dispense prescription drugs that may be contraceptives. If they have a problem w/ dispensing such drugs, then let's make pharmacies that will dispense any and all drugs to any and all patients w/ a valid & legally obtained Rx, and have the pharmacy advertise itself as such a pharmacy AND then let's have pharmacies that will pick and choose which drugs it will dispense and which patients it will serve and have the pharmacy advertise itself as a picking & choosing kind of pharmacy. At least all potential customers will know what exactly they are getting into when they park their car and decide to hand over their Rx to a judgmental theocrat.
So, Hubby and BabyGirl and I all watched Bush give his speech about Iraq. It was the expected spew: 9/11, I do what I want, 9/11, who cares if you criticize me?, 9/11, hey! we got pre-war stuff all wrong b/c we chose to in order to launch this war, 9/11, Muslim theocrats want to control everyone's life and oppress women and that is a bad thing, 9/11, Christian theocrats want to control everyone's life and oppress women but that is a good thing, 9/11, we will be there until I say so, 9/11, we will not be able to pay for this... but who gives a damn? the rich need tax cuts!, and of course... 9/11 changed everything. I noticed he said zero about spying on US citizens, but this attorney posted "Bush's Big "Oopsie" and Some Hardcore Law" and asks some mighty fine questions and lays it all out from his lawyer pt of view. And since I'm sure the wingnuts will say: "Who cares? He's just a lawyer who probably loves those mythical activist judges" John at AmericaBlog makes this pt that knocks that wingnut talking pt outta the ballpark: "You conservatives can't have it both ways. If an activist judiciary is dangerous then so is an activist president. We can't have any branch of govt or any govt official outright disobey the law of the land and the Constitution in order to do what THEY think is "best" for the country, especially when what they think is best just so happens to be spying on Amer citizens without a crt order." And ya have to wonder why would Bush ok this spying w/o warrants? Here are some theories... and the WaPost echoes these theories.
Scroll down to the letter to the editor entitled "US 'created an illusion' by Henry Hubbard in Ansbach, Germany in Stars&Stripes: "To all the letter writers of Dec 2 who were running down the writer of “War based on a lie” (letter, Nov 28), I would say that, like it or not, it is common knowledge that this war was, in fact, based on lies propagated by this administration... As far as the letter writers saying that they can’t believe an officer would write a dissenting view, I thank God that there are still officers in the military who are more representative of the people they are supposed to protect, us, the American people... "The first casualty of war is the truth."
NYTimes: "Bush defended the program Saturday, saying it was saving lives, hotly insisting that he was working w/in the Constitution and the law, and denouncing The NYT for disclosing the program's existence. We don't know if he was right on the 1st count; this White House has cried wolf so many times on the urgency of natl security threats that it has lost all credibility. But we have learned the hard way that Bush's team cannot be trusted to find the boundaries of the law, much less respect them." WaPost: "As w/ its infamous torture memorandum, the administration appears to have taken the position that the pres is entitled to ignore a clearly worded criminal law when it proves inconvenient in the war on terrorism. That argument is not as outlandish in the case of FISA as it is w/ respect to the torture laws, since administrations of both parties have always insisted on the executive's inherent power to conduct natl security surveillance. Still, FISA has been the law of the land for 2 1/2 decades. To disrupt it so fundamentally, in total secret and w/o seeking legislative authorization, shows a profound disregard for Congress and the laws it passes." So, they clearly see the crime that Bush committed as the crime it truly is, and Think Progress wants to know why Condi Rice is defending it by saying that the NSA evesdropping program is kosher b/c she is arguing that congressional leaders- specifically "leaders of the relevant oversight intelligence committees- had been briefed on the activities. Really? Then why has the then Chrmn of the Senate Intelligence Comm-- former Sen Bob Graham (D-FL)-- saying on Friday’s 'Nightline' that he had never once been briefed by the WH about the program?: "There was no reference made to the fact that we were going to…begin unwarranted, illegal- and I think unconstitutional- eavesdropping on Amer citizens." Oh, yeh, that's right... b/c this WH has once again LIED and BROKEN the LAW to suit their twisted agenda... and our 200+ yr old Constitution is "just a God-damned piece of paper" that has gotten in their way.
CNN: "A human rights group said Sunday that the US operated a secret prison for terrorism suspects as recently as last yr in Afghanistan, where detainees where subjected to torture and other mistreatment." Oh yeh... there is nooo torturin' going on... we obey human rights... sigh.
And Der Despot Dubya shreds our Constitution, but hey... dontcha feel safer that he threw away our civil rights in the name of terrorism?
Bush tries to defend illegally spying on US citizens w/ his usual spew of "9/11 changed everything... including every fucking law we have on the books and the 200+ yr old Constitution, which by the way, will still be here long after my evil temporary 8 yrs are gone AND I'd do it all over again b/c this illegal activity is a vital tool." But the facts remain that Bush did commit a crime, whether he claims that his lawyer, John Yoo, gave him a note excusing it or not. Funny, but the NSA mission statement doesn't mention illegal spying: "The NSA is the nation's cryptologic orgnz and as such, coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to produce foreign intelligence info and protect US info systems. NSA is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research w/in the US Govt." Besides, what Bush did is a clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act- Subchapter 1, Sec 1802b: "Applications for a crt order under this subchapter are authorized if the President has, by written authorization, empowered the Att Genrl to approve applications to the crt having jurisdiction under section 1803 of this title, and a judge to whom an application is made may, notwithstanding any other law, grant an order, in conformity with section 1805 of this title, approving electronic surveillance of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence info, except that the court shall not have jurisdiction to grant any order approving electronic surveillance directed solely as described in paragraph (1)(A) of subsection (a) of this section unless such surveillance may involve the acquisition of communications of any US person." Basically, it breaks down to this: Tapping internatl conversations: Legal. Tapping domestic conversations: Illegal unless w/ a warrant for normal crimes, or following the FISA procedure, which allows 72 hrs at most before seeing the FISA crt. Then there is lil pesky Bill of Rights, specifically the 4th Amendment that Bush violated: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Bush committed a crime, PERIOD. Clinton was impeached over lying about his sexual infidelities in a civil case. Bush authorized a criminal act in his pursuit of the 'war on terror'. That is a high crime, and for that, he should be impeached.
Jack Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist who struck fear into the hearts of corrupt or secretive politicians, inspiring Nixon operative G. Gordon Liddy to plot his murder, died Saturday. He was 83. Did Bush's ILLEGAL NSA Spying kill the journalist who outed corrupt politicians or did having to watch our civil rights be trampled and pissed on kill Jack instead?
Yes Il Duce Bush... you are destroying our rights. I would appreciate it if you'd have the courtesy to whip it out and piss on the Constitution and Bill of Rights publicly so we could see it coming next time instead of trying to tell us it's raining. Pix courtesy of BushFlash.
MSNBC reports that Bush PERSONALLY authorized the NSA to illegally spy on US citizens. If that weren't bad enough, this article says it all and succinctly disputes any wingnut defense of Bush's illegal spying on Americans. WashMonthly: "Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens w/out a warrant. This is against the law. The law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies that do not leave enough time for fedrl agents to get a warrant. If the NYTimes report is correct, the govt did not follow these procedures. It therefore acted illegally. Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the 4th amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the Pres "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." It's not as though warrants are hard to get, or the law makes no provision for emergencies. Bush could have followed the law had he wanted to. He chose to set it aside. And this is something that no American should tolerate. We claim to have a govt of laws, not of men. That claim means nothing if we are not prepared to act when a Pres (or anyone else) places himself above the law. If the NYT report is true, then Bush should be impeached." Amen.
Will the Karl Rove email to Stephen Hadley be the nail in Rove's indictment coffin? RAWstory thinks so, and I pray it comes to pass.
Tom DeLay's former aide Tony Rudy appears to be in the works of cutting a deal w/ prosecutors, so the GOP list of crimes tied to Abramoff just may be ready to hit the fan... and this post echoes that sentiment, plus it gives a handy recap of all things DeLay/Abramoff for reference since this thing is growing and spreading like a scary tumor.
NYTimes: Doug Bandow, who wrote a column for the Copley News Service in addition to serving as a scholar at the Cato Institute has resigned after revelations that he took payments (only $2000!) from the lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for writing columns favorable to his clients. For fuck's sake... do the payola scandals ever end with GOPers, and is Bandow truly a dirt cheap media whore or what?
SirotaBlog: MS Sen Trent Lott and his wife sued State Farm to force the insurer to pay for damage to their house in Pascagoula, MS, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina."- Wall Street Journal, 12/16/05. So, why has Lott repeatedly said things like this: "The Dems seem to think that the answer is a lawsuit. Sue everybody."- 7/20/01 or "It's sue, sue, sue... That's not the answer."- 8/4/01 or "The agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and tort reform initiatives passed by the Congress and signed into law by Pres Bush is resposible for the overall upturn in the natl economy."- Sen Lott press release, 12/2/05. Hmm, so I guess that the only people who should be able to sue when they need to are the Lotts?
Is this even more proof that Hannity is a big fat hypocrite? Crooks & Liars: Saudi Prince Al-waleed bin Talal, made large donations to Harvard and Georgetown universities. These contibutions seemed to give Hannity the perfect evidence of anti-Americanism on campuses across the country. Unfortunately for Hannity, he should have talked to Rupert Murdoch 1st b/c the Saudi Prince owns more than 5% of FOX News Channel's parent company. Hmm, I guess that means that Hannity's show is evidence of anti-Americanism in our media across the country, eh?
The Religious Fright in the House of Reps is demanding that we protect Christmas, and the symbols and traditions of Christmas. So, we need to protect something like this Yule Log? The pagan symbol of the dying warmth of the sun in winter & the tradition of keeping that warmth burning til spring thaw? Since every symbol AND tradition of Christmas is rooted in paganism, I would think we Christians owe pagans an apology for highjacking all of their stuff.
HouseDemsGov: Rep Dingell (contact him here) recited a bitchslapping poem on the floor of the House of Reps concerning HR 579- a ridiculous bill to "save and protect" Christmas and Christmas symbols and traditions (which ones? all of the pagan symbols and traditions?), put forth by GOP wingnut Rep JoAnn Davis (R-VA)... seriously, ya have to read about this crackpot bill and the reactions it recieved in the House. 2 of the best: 1) The Rev Barry Lynn, exec dir of Americans United for Sep of Church and State, said, "This is possibly the silliest bill ever presented to the Congress."If they honestly think there's some kind of war against Santa Claus or the baby Jesus, they are just not getting out enough." 2) Rep Bobby Scott (D-VA), opposed Davis' resolution as a largely meaningless exercise. He said it masked what he suggested were immoral decisions by Congress to cut food stamps and Medicaid for the poor while cutting taxes for the wealthy."What really needs to be protected is not the symbols of Christmas but the spirit of Christmas. We ought to express our passion for Christmas through deeds, not words." Amen to that, but that would require them to be REAL Christians not the poseurs they actually are. Read the poem here.
Sweet Jesus... we really do have to spit shine our jack boots and get ready for a goose-stepping party. NYTimes: Months after the 9/11 attacks, Bush secretly authorized the Natl Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the US to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to govt officials. Under a pres order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the internatl telephone calls and internatl e-mail messages of 100s, perhaps 1000s, of people inside the US w/out warrants over the past 3 yrs in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications. Yeh... sure... and I have a bridge to sell you, too.
This warms my heart: Acting on the absolutely correct conviction that our fedrl budget is a moral document, that reflects the values and priorities of our culture, 100s of religious protestors gathered in DC to call on our govt to stop cutting programs that help out the working poor, in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. ChicagoTribune: The Rev Jim Wallis told 100s of religious protesters gathered near the Capitol on Weds that there is a scandal this month, but it isn't the conservative myth about a war on Christmas: "The Christmas scandal is the budget out of this House of Reps, a budget which is an assault on low-income people, on poor families. Wallis was arrested by Capitol Hill police along with 113 other protesters--as they knew they would--for blocking the building's entrance.
NBC Channel 2 WESH: When Ion Sancho, FL's Leon County Supervisor of Elections, tested the Diebold system and allowed experts to manipulate the card electronically, he shockingly discovered before his very own eyes that someone could change the outcome of a mock election w/o leaving any kind of trail. In other words, someone could fix an election and no one would know: "The expert that we used simply programmed it on his laptop in his hotel room." Sancho began investigating the problem after watching the votes come in during the infamous 2000 election. In Volusia Cnty a memory card added more than 200 votes to Bush's total and subtracted 16,000 votes from Al Gore. The mistake was later corrected during a hand count. After watching his computer expert change vote totals this wk, Sancho said that he now believes someone on the inside did the same thing in 2000: "Someone w/ access to the vote center in Volusia County put it on a memory card and uploaded it into the main system." NO SHIT SHERLOCK. Ya didn't have to wear a tin foil hat to see that our elections have been sabotaged from the will of the American voters... but at least someone in the position to draw attention to it has finally realized what kind of crimes have taken place (plus the Miami Herald is reporting on the vote hacking, too). But I'd be very careful if I were this guy. It's about time for the Bush Famiglia to "unexpectedly" discover Sancho in a dirty motel rm, sitting in a bubblebath w/his wrists slit, while in full rigor mortis.
Read the letter from the Superintendent of Plano, TX's Independent School District that was sent in response to Bill O'Reilly many lies about the mythical war on Christmas. A righteous bitchslap is soundly delivered.
Bush: "Ahhh-secondly, I'm umm-ahhh, you know the, the Abramoff-I'm frankly, I'm not all that familiar what's going on up there in Capitol Hill, but it seems like to me he was an equal money dispenser. That he was giving money to people on both political parties." No Bush, ya big fat liar... Abramoff did NOT give money to Dems and you've know 'ole Jack since the good old days when you were the Gov of TX, so cut the shit.
The McCain amendement that Bush "agreed" to accept does nothing to stop abuse and torture b/c it leaves the enforcement of the bill up to the WH and denies prisoners habeas corpus rights plus Sen Graham made sure it still allowed Bush's beloved torture. PhillyInquirer: Congress will soon consider 2 amendments that threaten a descent into hypocrisy. Both have been tacked onto the defense authorization bill. A provision by Sen McCain is an unconditional bar on torture - a prospect Bush finds so damaging he has threatened to veto the entire bill. But he won't have to, thanks to a recent amendment by Sen Lindsay Graham (R-SC). This one bars Guantánamo detainees from going to fedrl court to enforce the rights that McCain would declare sacrosanct. The WashPost acknowledges this problem of having "public" rules vs private actions and calls it what it is: un-American hypocrisy.
So Bush, when exactly when our troops be leaving?
Cartoon courtesy of Dwane Powell Raleigh News & Observer.
Well, kinda sorta: As Prez Bush wrapped up a series of speeches on the war yesterday, he once again gave a clear answer to when US troops would come home from Iraq: "We will not leave until victory has been achieved." And he also gave this clear answer to when US troops would come home from Iraq: "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." ... umm... so they'll be coming home when exactly?... oh... okay... I see... the answer is really NOT an answer at all... sigh.
As the Iraqi election is underway, I searched for some Catholic wisdom on the current situation in Iraq. Please check out this op/ed called "The disturbing reality of torture": Plying the political thickets of the debate is an exercise somewhat akin to walking a minefield to determine if it is dangerous. In all of this, the Catholic protesters and the growing ranks working against the use of torture understand the stark truth of it. We’ll stand with them. Torture is wrong. No country should condone it under any circumstances. And certainly the lone superpower making such protestations about the spread of democracy should not practice it." AND leave it to Sister Joan to succinctly sum up the awful quagmire that Iraq is and continues to be: "Bush said: "Victory will be achieved," and "We will not cut and run." But we still don't know how anyone in Wash is defining "victory" in a situation where what we said we were going to war about does not exist. Nor do we know whether "we will not cut and run" may not simply be jargon for "we will not admit we were wrong." Heaven forbid. If it is "unpatriotic," "political," "un-American" to even suggest that war is not a proper course of action when a pres suggests a full-scale invasion of another country, it must surely be treasonous to suggest it 4 yrs, billions of dollars, 1000s of dead, and 100s of 1000s of wounded and displaced later. It is now clear that Bush wanted a war w/Iraq. But it is equally clear that the Congress that is supposed to be the voice of the Amer people simply rolled over and let it happen -- and all in the name of patriotism, Americanism and political unity. What is not clear at this point of the debacle is whether or not either Bush or Congress really want peace even now. " I love Sister Joan... she is a nun who tells it like it is.
My, my, my... whatever will the WH say about Bob Novak revealing this info: "I'm confident the president knows who the source is. I'd be amazed if he doesn't. So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is," Novak said at a Tuesday lunch address to the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh. Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY) took Novak's suggestion and sent a letter to Bush asking him either to disclose the source or say he does not know who it is. What does the WH say?... I'm sure you'll be sooo shocked: "Our policy has been clear -- no comment during an ongoing investigation," said WH spokeswoman Dana Perino yesterday.
WashPost: On a 308 to 122 vote, members of the House supported specific language proposed by McCain that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the US govt. The vote sends a clear signal to the Bush admin that both chambers of Congress support the anti-torture legislation and want the govt to adopt guidelines that aim to prevent damage to the US image abroad. Oh yeh... Bush will REALLY care what their message is when he refers to the Constitution (ya know, that pesky lil thing he swore to uphold not just once but twice?) as a "God-damned piece of paper."
AssocPress: "A TX prosecutor has issued subpoenas for bank records and other info of a defense contractor involved in the bribery case of CA congressman Duke Cunningham as part of the investigation of former House Ldr Tom DeLay. DA Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for CA businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp and ADCS Inc in connection w/ a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges. Perfect Wave contributed $15K in September 20, 2002 to Texans for a Republican Majority, a fundraising committee founded by DeLay." Sniff... sniff... is that a yule log burning? Naw, it's just DeLay's lying criminal ass... he's toast.
WashPost: US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad on Tues described torture cases discovered in Iraqi police prisons as both extensive and severe, saying more than 120 abused detainees had been found in the 2 centers run by the Shiite-led govt that have been inspected so far. Khalilzad rejected Interior Ministry officials' suggestion that any mistreatment of prisoners had been mild, saying the abuse found was "far worse than slapping around." An Iraqi official who US authorities have said had firsthand knowledge of the search said the men had been subjected to torture that included broken bones, pulled fingernails, cigarettes stamped into skin and electric shocks. Of course, the Iraqi Shiites deny that Iranian intelligence agents and Iranian-Shiite clerics have any connection to the torture of the Sunnis in these Shia run prisons... but I'll believe that when monkeys fly out of a mullah's butt, too b/c how else can you justify behavior like this against Sunnis via the Sydney Morning Herald: "This from the mouth of a 14 yr old boy: "They tied the legs and hands of 11 Sunni men and hanged them off the river bridge - head-first. But they still refused to talk, so Sheik Khadum Shibley shot them in the arms and legs and then he cut the ropes."
Get the jack boots shined up folks... 'cause the Bush- Stasi goose stepping is about to begin in America in 2005/06.
You only have to look at the major supporters of the so-called "Patriot Act" to see that its renewal is vitally necessary to bring our nation under full fascist-state like security. Combine this w/ the unsurprising news from an NBC investigation that the Pentagon has been conducting a secret program spying on anti-war groups and protesters AND this news from the Wash Post that teams of undercover air marshals and uniformed law enforcement officers will fan out to bus and train stations, ferries, & mass transit facilities across the country this wk in a new test program to conduct surveillance and "counter potential criminal terrorist activity in all modes of transportation" to see that we are truly now only steps away from having a fully operational KGB/Stasi/SS security apparatus aimed at the law abiding citizens of this country.
1) NYTimes: "Police Seize Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq From Iran"... oh yeah... the Iraqi Shiites have absolutely nooo connection to the Shia Islamic Radicals in Iran, right?
2) UK's IranFocus: "Iran orders “agents” to rig Iraq’s elections"... please refer to the line above if clarification is needed.
3) MSNBC: "Predicted Election Outcome in Iraq"Shiites win. Shocking!
4) ArutzSheva: "290,000 Israelis Eligible to Vote in Iraqi Elections"... this outta play out well among the Muslims, eh?
As Condi Rice continued to lie thru her big gapped buck teeth about renditions, this comes from the WashPost: "A Swiss investigator said that info he has gathered indicates US intelligence operatives have abducted and transferred terrorism suspects in Europe "w/out respect for any legal standards" and that Sec of State Rice was not forthcoming about the CIA's anti-terrorism operations in EU." Really? I personally am sooo shocked. What's next? Bush & Cheney knew absolutely nothing about this?
BlackBoxVoting (via Kos): "Due to security design issues and contractual non-performance, Leon County supervisor of elections Ion Sancho told Black Box Voting that he will never use Diebold in an election again. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county." Here is a copy of Sancho's press release on the Diebold hack test. Add this news to this info from BradBlog: "A Securities Fraud Class Action suit has been filed against Diebold naming 8 top exec officers in the company as co-defendants. The suit was filed Tuesday in US Fedrl District Crt in Ohio and alleges the company "artificially inflated" stock prices thru misleading public info designed to conceal the true nature of Diebold's financial and legal situation. The defendants are also alleged to have attempted to disguise well-known and ongoing problems w/ Diebold's Voting Machine equipment and software. Additionally, the suit alleges insider trading by defendants resulting in proceeds of $2.7 milln. Hmm... I guess all of this is why Ohio's Repubs (almost all of whom are implicated in Ohio's GOP and Gov Taft's crimes) are trying to ram House Bill 3 thru as fast as they can. As this OSU professor's testimony assesses (PDF), it will effectively END all election RECOUNTS and completely shield Diebold when they hand yet another stolen election to the GOP.
AMERICAblog: John at Americablog has the complete lowdown on the cozy truce between Ford Co & the wingnut Amer Family Assn (yeah... the Manson Family Assn is more like it): "FordCo's decision to cease advertising in gay publications is part of a truce between the auto maker and the Amer Family Assn. (AFA) Ford has agreed not to sponsor any future gay and lesbian events." Well, John has gathered up a boatload of extremist quotes from the AFA and wonders: "Let's look at some choice quotes from the extremist AFA and its publications (Agape Press) and see just how comfortable Ford is w/the hateful ideology its new buddy is pushing." Dan Savage at The Village Voice succinctly sums up why the AFA strong arming Ford should matter to us straight folks: "The AFA fucks intimidating Ford on the gay issue are the same fucks intimidating retailers like Target into denying women access to morning-after pills. They're the same assholes trying to stop the feds from approving a vaccine for 2 strains of HPV. (The HPV vaccine—already tested and 100% effective—could save 1000s of women's lives every yr.) When the AFA successfully attacks gay rights, it only emboldens its attacks on straight rights. So gay or straight, the AFA is your enemy." It seems that Jon Stewart sees the danger the goosestepping AFA poses, so please check out his funny piece on the FordCo bigotry that he calls "GayWatch" and Jon nails it when he reminds us that S. Africa is now more progressive than America b/c the former land of Apartheid has made gay marriage legal.
BostonGlobe: The cost of rental housing has increased faster than wages, making it increasingly difficult for low-income families to afford even modest apartments, according to a report released Tuesday. "The disparity between what people earn, and what even modest rental housing costs, grows larger each year," Sheila Crowley, pres of the Natl Low Income Housing Coalition. Aaaww... who cares? Let's adopt the GOP/ Scrooge stance: When they freeze to death or die of starvation, they'll just be tidying up some of the world's surplus population... and make damn sure ya say Merry Christmas NOT Happy Holidays... we have to keep Christ in Christmas, ya know.
This great "movie still" of The Wizard of Oil is courtesy of The Dood Abides of Dudehisattva.Com. Yes, they're off to see the wizard... the wonderful Saudi wizard of oil.
Oh Dood... I so loved your abiding self in The Big Lebowski... but I love ya even more w/Photo Shop. You are a supah-genius. Please, enjoy this timeless classic: The Wizard of Oil... tastefully restored, of course.
I don't care what any Neo-Con says about the French in their GOP quest to discredit & smear them... I adore the House of Cacharel, and I will wear their heavenly fragrances come hell or high water... and now I come to find out the French also knew that the Niger/ uranium claim was complete crap: LATimes: "More than a yr before Bush declared in his 2003 State of the Union speech that Iraq had tried to buy nuclear weapons material in Africa, the French spy service began repeatedly warning the CIA that there was no evidence to support the allegation. The previously undisclosed exchanges between the US & the French, described in interviews last wk by the retired chief of the French counterintelligence service and a former CIA official, came on separate occasions in '01 and '02. The French conclusions were reached after extensive on the ground investigations in Niger and other former French colonies, where the uranium mines are controlled by French companies, said Alain Chouet, the French former official. He said the French investigated at the CIA's request. Chouet's account was "at odds w/ our understanding of the issue," a US govt official said. The US official declined to elaborate and spoke only on condition that neither he nor his agency be named. However, the essence of Chouet's account (that the French repeatedly investigated the Niger claim, found no evidence to support it, and warned the CIA) was extensively corroborated by the former CIA official and a current French govt official, who both spoke on condition of anonymity." Well, of course they only speak on condition of anonymity. They don't want to be "Valerie Plamed" and they don't want to turn up in a seedy hotel rm w/ a dead girl and live boy in their bed.
RAWStory: "The board of directors and Wally O'Dell mutually agreed that his decision to resign at this time for personal reasons was in the best interest of all parties," the company's new chairman said in a statement. O'Dell's resignation comes just days after reports from BradBlog that the company was facing imminent securities fraud litigation surrounding charges of insider trading. It also comes on the heels of a RAWStory interview w/ a Diebold insider, who raised new allegations of technical woes inside the company, as well concern that Diebold may have mishandled elections in GA and OH." BradBlog says: "As we reported late last wk, the filing of a securities fraud class action litigation against the company, O'Dell and other current and former members of their Board of Dirs is now imminent. We have learned that the case may be filed in Ohio Fedrl District court as early as Tues. In the wake of the controversy concerning O'Dell's involvement w/the Bush/Cheney campaign, a corporate policy was instituted to disallow involvement in political campaign by sr executives at the company. A report in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer late last wk, however, revealed that several Diebold executives had continued to donate to GOP campaigns even after the policy was enacted. The new CEO, Swidarski appears to have given the maximum allowable $2000 contribution himself to Bush/Cheney's campign in '04." If you ever needed any more proof of the heavy Diebold contributions to GOP coffers, please check this list here and this "says it all" on soft money graphic here. Let's face facts: O'Dell commits fraud. That's his MO. Since we don't have any law enforcement willing to look into electoral fraud, he gets busted for securities fraud. B/c, you see, rich and powerful people can get hurt by securities fraud. It's only the poor and middle class who get hurt by electoral fraud.