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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Oh, HERE they are...! I can't believe they were here all along...!

amazing... who woulda thought they'd be in the very LAST place we'd look...?
The White House turned over last week 250 pages of emails from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Senior aides had sent the emails in the spring of 2003 related to the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed during a federal court hearing Friday.

The emails are said to be explosive, and may prove that Cheney played an active role in the effort to discredit Plame Wilson’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s prewar Iraq intelligence, sources close to the investigation said.

Sources close to the probe said the White House “discovered” the emails two weeks ago and turned them over to Fitzgerald last week. The sources added that the emails could prove that Cheney lied to FBI investigators when he was interviewed about the leak in early 2004. Cheney said that he was unaware of any effort to discredit Wilson or unmask his wife’s undercover status to reporters.

fitz must have had to show a damn big hammer to force these out of the white house... of one thing you can be sure, they didn't just materialize because someone in the west wing decided it was the right thing to do...

(thanks to truthout...)

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Will Bush change course in deference to reality...?

robert parry sees a choice for bush...
If Bush can’t hold William F. Buckley Jr. – and if even the ranks of the neocons are starting to crack – Bush may soon be confronted with a hard choice of either acknowledging his errors or tightening his authoritarian control of the United States.

but there's no doubt (in my mind, at least) about what his choice will be...
Saying that U.S. national security "depends on the advance of liberty in other nations," President Bush today offered a broad defense of his goal of spreading democracy worldwide and rejected the notion that his policies are "backfiring" in the Middle East.

the thing that has to be understood is that, above all else, bushco's agenda IS authoritarian control of the u.s. so there is really no "hard choice" to be made...

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Friday, February 24, 2006

So, suicide bombers are now targeting Saudi oil production

on this side of the pond, the boy king is trumpeting alternative energy sources while quietly cutting $28M from the renewable energy research center budget and then getting embarrassed into adding a whopping $5M back in... see how well he looks after us...?

juan cole spells it out...

Suicide Bombing of Saudi Oil Complex Foiled

We all just dodged a bullet. But for how long?

The good news is that the suicide bombing by unidentified radicals against the Saudi oil processing center in largely Shiite Abqaiq (Baqiq) was foiled, though bombs did go off.

Saudi Arabia, dominated by hard line Wahhabi Sunnis, produces about 9.5 million barrels a day of petroleum, and exports over 7 million barrels a day.

Folks, the world only produces about 85 million barrels a day. And most of that is used up by the producers so it isn't available for export. The US, for instance, produces 5.5 million barrels a day, but it uses about 20 million barrels a day. It uses all of its production and then 3 times that from other countries.

So the Saudi production is 11 percent of the world total, but it is far more than that of the amount of petroleum available for anyone else to buy.

If you took out the facility at Abqaiq, it would be very bad news for world transportation systems.

Iraqi production is already down 38% from pre-War levels. Nigerian production is off 20 percent because of political strife there. There haven't been any big new strikes, and China and India and others are using more and more.

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"If the White House doesn't handle this well in the next three days, the political consequences could be catastrophic."

(thanks to mcjoan at daily kos...)

john podhoretz at the national review online cites the latest rasmussen poll where,
By a margin of 43 to 41 percent, Americans say they trust Congressional Democrats more than Bush when it comes to protecting our national security. And by a margin of 64-17 percent, they oppose the sale of the ports to Dubai.

i have totally lost count of the number of times i have read that "the political consequences [for the bush administration] could be catastrophic..." i'm sick of reading it... i want the consequences TO BE CATASTROPHIC... when are these sons-of-bitches going down...?

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Follow. The. Money.

United Arab Emirates Donated At Least $1M To Bush Library

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Ted Koppel has a BGO

Blinding. Glimpse. Of. The. Obvious.
In a surprisingly strong Op Ed on Friday, Ted Koppel, the former "Nightline" host who is now an occasional columnist for The New York Times, argues that when it comes right down to it, the U.S. adventure in Iraq is, as some charge, "about the oil."

when i was managing united's operation in portland, maine, ted-of-the-perfect-hair showed up at the check-in counter and refused to show any i.d. except his washington press pass, claiming that it had his photo and was official enough to suffice as a "government-issued" i.d... (this was pre-9/11, btw...) the agent (no fool she) rightly insisted on seeing a genuine government-issued i.d... koppel became indignant and an argument ensued... finally, koppel's traveling companion leaned over his shoulder and said, "ted, show her your driver's license and let's move on," loudly enough for half the people waiting in line to hear... abashed, ted reached for his wallet and pulled out his license... i was watching from the sidelines, always preferring to let an agent handle things unless my intervention was absolutely necessary... i remember thinking at the time, "what a jerk..."

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Drinkin' and shootin'... In Texas, it's as American as apple pie...

and it ain't just in texas... having lived for several years in the u.s. third-world state of new mexico (any outraged new mexico readers, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line), i can assure you, drinkin' and shootin' and drinkin' and drivin' are not just occasional pastimes in that neck of the woods...
Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago say Cheney was "clearly inebriated" at the time of the shooting.

Agents observed several members of the hunting party, including the Vice President, consuming alcohol before and during the hunting expedition, the report notes, and Cheney exhibited "visible signs" of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions.
According to those who have talked with the agents and others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up.

We talked with a number of administration officials who are privy to inside information on the Vice President's shooting "accident" and all admit Secret Service agents and others say they saw Cheney consume far more than the "one beer' he claimed he drank at lunch earlier that day.

"This was a South Texas hunt," says one White House aide. "Of course there was drinking. There's always drinking. Lots of it."

One agent at the scene has been placed on administrative leave and another requested reassignment this week. A memo reportedly written by one agent has been destroyed, sources said Wednesday afternoon.

for the record, the source for this snippet, capitol hill blue, does not have an unblemished reputation for accuracy... however, that said, we would find any of this surprising because...?

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Fitz's Libby indictment "unconstitutional"

it's impossible to read this without guffawing... for one thing, it's total bullshit... even someone as inexpert and as distanced from legalities and technicalities as myself can see that patrick fitzgerald doesn't make a single move he isn't absolutely sure about... two, such an attempt on the part of libby's defense team is clearly made out of desperation... and three, the irony of a bushco criminal using constitutionality as a basis for argument is unutterably delicious...
Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide asked a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss his indictment, saying the special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case lacked the authority to bring the charges.

Lawyers for the former aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., said his indictment violated the Constitution because the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was not appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate. They added that the appointment violated federal law because the attorney general did not supervise the investigation. Only Congress, the lawyers said, can approve such an arrangement.

as long as we're going to put what's constitutional and what's not on the table, there are a few items from king george's reign that i'd like to mention...

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All you want or need to know about U.S. torture in a single interview

A new expose ["A Question of Torture: C.I.A. Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," by Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison] gives an account of the C.I.A.'s secret efforts to develop new forms of torture, spanning half a century. It reveals how the C.I.A. perfected its methods, distributing them across the world, from Vietnam to Iran to Central America, uncovering the roots of the Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo torture scandals.

(from democracy now's february 17 interview of professor mccoy conducted by amy goodman, excerpted in alternet... the full transcript is available at

read it...

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

4-month old agency reviewed Dubai ports deal

why, gosh and golly, it was only in the VERY LAST post that i was remarking on how increasingly bizarre the revelations about the dubai ports deal are and how each seems to top the previous one so, damn if now there isn't STILL ANOTHER one... at least with this particular bush-capade, the stories are coming thick and fast and not spread out over several years the way we've learned about the lies that took us into iraq...
A deal that allows an Arab-owned company in Dubai to manage six major U.S. ports was scrutinized for security risks by an obscure intelligence agency that has existed for only four months, American officials said on Wednesday.

The Intelligence Community Acquisition Risk Centre, or CARC, overseen by the office of intelligence chief John Negroponte, was asked by the government committee that vets foreign investments in the United States to look into the ports deal soon after it came to its attention in early November.


"The intelligence community did assessments to make sure that there was no national security threat," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

But intelligence officials said CARC, which has little to do with counterterrorism activities, was formed just last October as the agency mandated to assess security risks posed by companies that do business with the intelligence community.

Only a small part of the center's resources are devoted to vetting commercial deals, officials said.

CARC's first director, William Dawson, was appointed in January, more than a month after the centre had been asked to begin work on the Dubai Ports World acquisition.

uhhhh... uhhhh... mmmmmm... you GOTTA be shittin' me...

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Help me...! I'm trapped in a room full of Salvador Dali paintings... [UPDATE]

i thought the ports deal had gotten about as bizarre as it could get... i should never allow myself to have thoughts like that cuz it's like daring lightning to strike or washing your car because it's a sunny day and hasn't rained in quite a while...
The Dubai-based company at the center of a controversy over the management of six U.S. seaports has hired former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to lobby on its behalf against bipartisan criticism of the deal, a Dole aide said Wednesday.

The 1996 Republican presidential candidate was "engaged" by Dubai Ports World shortly after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began expressing their strong opposition to the deal, said Mike Galloway, an aide to the retired senator.

He is considered a GOP elder statesman, and his wife, Elizabeth, now represents North Carolina in the Senate.

Dole is a special counsel in the Washington office of the law firm Alston & Bird. DP World hired the firm in 2005 to help shepherd its purchase of the British-based firm Peninsular and Oriental, which currently manages the U.S. ports, Galloway said.

--From CNN Correspondent Andrea Koppel

lessee if i've got this straight... bob dole, former u.s. senator, now working for a d.c. law firm that's representing a foreign firm which has strong ties to a foreign government whose royal family hosted osama bin laden in 1999 which prevented a u.s. strike to take him out, has been hired specifically to lobby for the foreign firm in order to protect that foreign firm's bid to operate 6 u.s. seaports where one of the persons he will be lobbying is his wife, elizabeth, a current u.s. senator...


Elizabeth Dole Should Recuse Herself from Port Deal Considerations

so says the north carolina democratic party...

goddam right...

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We really are screwed

I have been reading the recommendations of the White House Report "The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned" and my mind is reeling.

I originally checked it out after hearing on the radio last night that the report recommended putting the PENTAGON in charge of disaster relief. (Picture me driving along yelling, "No, No, NOOO!!!" at my radio.)

So this morning I popped over to the New York Times to see what I could find. The article itself was fairly innocuous. No major red flags that I could see:<
The nation must revamp the way it responds to major disasters or terrorist attacks, according to a new White House report that calls for more stockpiling of emergency supplies, a better-defined role for the military[??] and a more concerted push to evacuate hospitals and nursing homes.

From the actual report:
Lesson Learned: The Departments of Homeland Security and Defense should jointly plan for the Department of Defense’s support of Federal response activities as well as those extraordinary circumstances when it is appropriate for the Department of Defense to lead the Federal response. In addition, the Department of Defense should ensure the transformation of the National Guard is focused on increased integration with active duty forces for homeland security plans and activities.


22. DOD and DHS should develop recommendations for revision of the NRP to delineate the circumstances, objectives, and limitations of when DOD might temporarily assume the lead for the Federal response to a catastrophic incident. Katrina demonstrated the importance of prior planning for rapid and complex response efforts. DOD should develop plans to lead the Federal response for events of extraordinary scope and nature (e.g., nuclear incident or multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks causing a breakdown in civil society).

23. DOD should revise its Immediate Response Authority (IRA) policy to allow commanders, in appropriate circumstances, to exercise IRA even without a request from local authorities. DOD should work with DHS and State officials to improve integration of military response capabilities.

These caught my eye, but more than that, most of the recommendations centered around another layer of bureaucracy assuming the role that FEMA should be taking and beyond that, I kept saying to myself, "Four years after 9/11 and this still hasn't been done? I thought this is what DHS was created for." For instance, and this is just one recommendation:
DHS should establish an interagency team of senior planners with appropriate emergency management experience to conduct a comprehensive, 90-day review of the NRP and the NIMS.
Oh...and this:
Integrate and synchronize the preparedness functions within the Department of Homeland Security.

What??? Four years after creating the Department of Homeland Security this hasn't been done? Wasn't that the department's primary mission? More:
The recently established DHS Preparedness Directorate resulting from Secretary Chertoff’s review of the Department’s core policies, operations and structure should be fully implemented. To expand upon this initiative, DHS should integrate and synchronize the preparedness functions with the response, recovery and operational support activities currently located elsewhere in the department. Specifically, DHS should consider adding an Assistant Secretary for Preparedness Programs and an Assistant Secretary for Operational Plans, Training and Exercises, and an Executive Director for Public and Citizen Preparedness to the Undersecretary of Preparedness’ senior staff, which currently includes Assistant Secretaries for Grants and Training, Infrastructure Protection and Cyber & Telecommunications, plus the Chief Medical Officer, Fire Administrator, the Office of State and Local Coordination and the National Capital Region Director. This adjustment to the DHS headquarters will integrate all the preparedness functions of the Department and preserves FEMA as an independent operating agency to perform their response and recovery mission. There should be no artificial, functional, or geographic divide between the components of the Preparedness Directorate. The Undersecretary for Preparedness along with the FEMA Director should serve as the senior advisers to the Secretary on all matters related to the Federal response during an incident.

This sounds like more of the same. Create more positions for cronies, neuter FEMA, etc. Color me disgusted. Further, this report keeps calling for disaster and preparedness training, but Bush has taken preparedness dollars out of the budget. Where the hell is the money going to come from to do this and hire these new undersecretaries (and related support staff, I may add)?

Jeezus on a Triscuit

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George Monbiot looks at the future of RFID

and it isn't pretty...
There are, in other words, plenty of legitimate uses for implanted chips. This is why they bother me. A technology whose widespread deployment, if attempted now, would be greeted with horror, will gradually become unremarkable. As this happens, its purpose will begin to creep.

At first the tags will be more widely used for workers with special security clearance. No one will be forced to wear one; no one will object. Then hospitals -- and a few in the United States are already doing this -- will start scanning their unconscious or incoherent patients to see whether or not they have a tag. Insurance companies might start to demand that vulnerable people are chipped.

The armed forces will discover that they are more useful than dog tags for identifying injured soldiers or for tracking troops who are lost or have been captured by the enemy. Prisons will soon come to the same conclusion. Then sweatshops in developing countries will begin to catch on. Already the overseers seek to control their workers to the second, determining when they clock in, when they visit the toilet, even the number of hand movements they perform. A chip makes all this easier. The workers will not be forced to have them, any more than they are forced to have sex with their bosses, but if they don't accept the conditions, they don't get the job. After that, it surely won't be long before asylum seekers are confronted with a similar choice: You don't have to accept an implant, but if you refuse, you can't stay in the country.

I think it will probably stop there. I don't believe that you or I, or most comfortable, mentally competent people will be forced to wear a tag. But it will become an increasingly acceptable means of tracking and identifying people who could be a danger to themselves, or who could be at risk of sudden illness or disappearance, or who are otherwise hard for companies or governments to control. They will, on the whole, be people whose political voice is muted.

i'm not at all comfortable with where this technology is going... not at all...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The talk of civil war in Iraq is getting a LOT louder

Insurgents posing as police destroyed the golden dome of one of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines Wednesday, setting off an unprecendented spasm of sectarian violence. Angry crowds thronged the streets, militiamen attacked Sunni mosques, and at least 19 people were killed.

the united states basically set in motion the very same dynamics that were unleashed in the balkans following the collapse of the communist/socialist/authoritarian/repressionist regimes that ruled there for so many years... when you keep a tight lid on a pressure cooker, when you keep a populace under strongarm control, even though it's through harsh and often brutal means, the apparatus of the country still tends to function... when the lid is taken off of that pressure cooker, all hell breaks loose, á la today's iraq...
The violence — many of the 90 attacks on Sunni mosques were carried out by Shiite militias — seemed to push Iraq closer to all-out civil war than at any point in the three years since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

AND, when you're the country that's taken the lid off and did so without any solid plan for dealing with the resulting chaos, it's a sorry scene indeed... colin powell's prescient statement, even though we were later to learn what a sorry coward he really is, still speaks volumes - the "pottery barn rule" of foreign policy: "you break it, you own it..."

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George Bush: world-class doofus, pt. 2

rummy didn't know... pace didn't know... now we find out george didn't know... and he didn't know BECAUSE...?

a) nobody told him...?
b) he never asked...?
c) he didn't want to know...?
d) somebody told him but he forgot...?
e) it isn't his job to "know things...?"
f) all the above...
g) none of the above...
h) who's george...?

Bush faces a rebellion from leaders of his own party, as well as from Democrats, about the deal that would put Dubai Ports in charge of major shipping operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

While Bush has adamantly defended the deal, the White House acknowledged that he did not know about it until recently.

"He became aware of it over the last several days," McClellan said. Asked if Bush did not know about it until it was a done deal, McClellan said, "That's correct."

i'm still trying to figure out if this movie i've been watching for almost six years is a comedy or a tragedy... one thing for sure - it has the most surreal, bizarre and mind-bending plot imaginable... no playwright, author or screenwriter could come up with shit half as mind-exploding as this without someone making a referral for a psych exam...

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IF you can get the right ID, you can vote in Georgia

The Department of Justice recently approved Georgia’s plan to force voters to show a state-issued ID that can be obtained in only 59 of the state’s 159 counties, none of which are in the six counties with the highest percentage of African Americans.

no comment required...

(thanks to think progress...)

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George Bush: world-class doofus

only $5M is restored after a $28M budget cut... them's mixed signals on top of mixed signals...

Bush Admits to 'Mixed Signals' Regarding Laboratory on Renewable Energy

and, as long as he's in "admitting" mode, why doesn't he admit to all the other mixed signals he sends on a daily basis...?
President Bush acknowledged on Tuesday that his administration had sent "mixed signals" to the Department of Energy's primary renewable energy laboratory here, where government budget cuts forced the layoff of 32 employees who were then hastily reinstated just before Mr. Bush's visit.

bush oughta be given a citation for causing whiplash...
Managers at the laboratory began calling the employees back on Monday, a holiday, and phone calls were continuing on Tuesday. None of the employees were back at work in time for the president's visit, said a laboratory spokesman, George Douglas.

"Human Resources had to figure out how to do this," Mr. Douglas said in an interview as Mr. Bush shook the hands of employees. "There was some paperwork. We've never done this before — let people go and then hire them back in two weeks."

such a high regard bush has for ordinary folks... juan and juanita drag themselves back home and announce around the dinner table, "bad news, i've been laid off..." losing a job is right up there with some of the most stressful events that can happen to you... now, their chains get jerked once again... nothing like helping create that precious atmosphere of trust in the workplace...

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh, and on that ports deal...? Why didn't you SAY it was just another Bushco business deal...?

doggone... if you'd just said this up front, we could have skipped all the foreplay...
The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

it certainly makes a lot more sense now why bush would threaten his first-ever veto... it's about making sure the $$$$ keeps flowing into the right pockets...
President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that a deal for a state-owned Dubai company to manage major U.S. ports should go forward and will not jeopardize U.S. security.

Bush told reporters traveling back to Washington with him from Colorado that he would veto legislation to stop the deal from going through.

"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush said. He added that if the U.S. Congress passed a law to stop the deal, "I'll deal with it with a veto."

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More from Think Progress: Rumsfeld and Pace Not Consulted On Transfer Of Port Operations To UAE

In a press briefing today, Secretary Rumsfeld revealed that he was not consulted about the decision to transfer operations of six key U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates [and] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, who was at the briefing, also said he found out about the deal over the weekend.

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Hippocratic Oath interferes with sweet, sweet revenge?

Here is an ethical dilema to end all ethical dilemas. What to do if you have taken an oath and sworn to save human life and do no harm and are then asked to end human life so that others watching may be either frightened into never ending human life or satisfied by the grim expiation for their relative or spouse? Some doctors working for the state of California chose not to carry out an execution if it meant that the victim would suffer during his injection by three separate chemicals, and thus possibly have to be revived to yet again put him back under. Sound confusing? Sure it does.
Morales, 46, was convicted of the brutal 1981 slaying of Terri Winchell, a 17-year-old Lodi high school senior. He admitted conspiring with his cousin, Rick Ortega, to kill Winchell as payback for her dating Ortega's bisexual lover. But he said he accepted responsibility for the crime and was deeply remorseful.

Morales' defense team had argued that the state's three-stage lethal injection protocol violated a constitutional ban on "cruel and unusual punishment," claiming that the initial rounds of sedatives and paralytic agents might mask, rather than prevent, pain from the final heart-stopping chemicals.

It gets weirder. Kenneth Starr, you remember him, is one of Morales attorneys arguing that Morales was,
"a deeply repentant sorrowful Christian who has accepted full responsibility for a terrible crime that will haunt him forever."

There is alleged evidence that an important witness against Morales was what they call a "jail house snitch" and even the trial judge, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Charles R. McGrath, broke precedent and had
"asked the governor (Schwarzenegger) to commute his own sentence of death to one of life in prison without possibility of parole."

Our country needs to look seriously at its actions and its attitude towards death and by reflection, life.
"For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium."

- Albert Camus

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So much for the White House not making any direct or implied statements of guilt or innocence of an indicted WH official

scooter libby's legal defense fund website offers endorsements from dick cheney, george bush, paul wolfowitz and brit hume as well as regular email updates... i would assume that an "endorsement" can be construed to mean that the endorser considers scooter to be innocent, and that donating to his legal defense fund would therefore be a worthy cause...

god, i'm so tired of repeating myself but, here goes... every single time i think i've seen the ultimate in over-the-top crap from bushco, they go and out-do themselves yet again... absolutely and positively disgusting (not the legal defense fund, the endorsements)...

(thanks to think progress...)

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Bring the U.N. into Iraq

juan cole says:
I think the peace movement has a real opportunity here to make a push for much heavier United Nations involvement in Iraq. I say, let's make up placards calling on Kofi Annan to get involved, and calling on Bush to let the UN come in in a big way, with proper protection.

then he goes on to list 7 advantages/arguments for doing so...

nicholas kristof has an editorial in today's nyt, entitled,
"Time for an Extreme Makeover at the White House..." (Available only to TimesSelect subscribers), complete with this teaser:
"President Bush can still rehabilitate himself if he acts quickly and decisively to reshuffle his administration and approach to governing."

as much as i admire and respect juan cole, my response to him is the same as to nicholas kristof: what are you guys smoking...? after nearly 6 years of observing bushco in action, how can you possibly sit there and encourage them to do something that, while it might appear eminently rational to us, is so far out of the realm of possibility for them as to be laughable... digby has a similar thought, albeit taken from a different context...
Submit to them or stand with the resistence.

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New programs, fifth columnists and domestic detention camps

robert parry picks up some of the pieces of the senate intelligence committee hearings, connects them with a few others and drops them into the ever-emerging, increasingly disturbing puzzle picture of an executive branch out of control...
[R]ecent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.

the most critical skill of any worthy journalist these days is the ability to recognize patterns... needless to say, there are damn few of them out there...
Only a few independent journalists, such as Peter Dale Scott and Maureen Farrell, have pursued what the Bush administration might actually be thinking.

Scott speculated that the “detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.”


Farrell pointed out that because “another terror attack is all but certain, it seems far more likely that the centers would be used for post-911-type detentions of immigrants rather than a sudden deluge” of immigrants flooding across the border.

Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said, “Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters. They’ve already done this on a smaller scale, with the ‘special registration’ detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo.”

and what would happen to all those collected in the "round-ups...?" does the term "forced labor" ring any bells...?
There also was another little-noticed item posted at the U.S. Army Web site (PDF file), about the Pentagon’s Civilian Inmate Labor Program. This program “provides Army policy and guidance for establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations.”


On its face, the Army’s labor program refers to inmates housed in federal, state and local jails. The Army also cites various federal laws that govern the use of civilian labor and provide for the establishment of prison camps in the United States, including a federal statute that authorizes the Attorney General to “establish, equip, and maintain camps upon sites selected by him” and “make available … the services of United States prisoners” to various government departments, including the Department of Defense.

gosh...! so much to look forward to...!

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Can the R's regain lost ground...?

So, the President starts dropping just a few weeks after an ineffective State of the Union. In some polls he dips below 40 percent, truly dangerous territory. It seems like their years of bad governance has finally caught up with them. That the American people are focusing more on deeds, not words. But can the ruthless pols running the GOP these days turn this thing around and snatch a victory from what could be a near-certain defeat?


But given that in Mid-February the President has dropped below 40 percent, their weak agenda has nowhere to go, foreign policy and security issues are as likely to be as damaging to them as helpful, and the criminal cases against their leadership will spread and deepen, I think even the skeptics have to now acknowledge that 2006 is likely to become an historically bad year for the governing party.

"their years of bad governance has finally caught up with them...?" i don't effing think so...

"can the ruthless pols . . . turn this thing around...?" definitely... and, lest you think otherwise, mr. simon rosenberg, they are doing just that... cuz, simon, if it was about poll numbers, george and his posse would already be gone...

"their weak agenda has nowhere to go..." their "weak" agenda, as you define it, mr. rosenberg - rising energy costs, the medicare rx debacle, more photos from abu ghraib, domestic warrantless spying, no consensus on immigration issues, the rise in global terrorism, the continuing nightmare of iraq, the slowing economy, and on and on - is STRONG in the very area it was designed for: the creation of FEAR, leading to bushco's unparallelled seizure of power and the emasculation of our cherished separation of powers...

IF we manage to get through the 2006 elections without a serious domestic terrorist incident, one that gives bush and his gang license to suspend the constitution OFFICIALLY rather than the ad hoc suspension that's happened so far, we will be able to consider ourselves DAMN LUCKY... i, for one, am not holding my breath...

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"Bush must be more forthcoming..."

the complete comment reads, "President Bush must be more forthcoming about the eavesdropping program to retain Congress's good will."

gag. me. with. a. spoon.

when you've got a president pulling the kind of shit bush has been pulling for almost six years, saying something nicey-nice like he must be "more forthcoming" just reeks of weenieness...

and president bush has gotta be "more forthcoming" because...? because if he isn't, you're gonna cry...? you're gonna go tell mommie...? you're gonna go back to your constituents, wring your hands and say, "look, he's the big, bad president and what's a body to to...?" put on your kevlar vests, you wimpy bastards, and do the job you were elected to do, namely being the third leg of the stool, one of the three co-equal branches of the united states government... goddam it... GODDAM IT...! DO YOUR FRIGGIN' JOBS...!

At two key moments in recent days, White House officials contacted congressional leaders just ahead of intelligence committee meetings that could have stirred demands for a deeper review of the administration's warrantless-surveillance program, according to House and Senate sources.

In both cases, the administration was spared the outcome it most feared, and it won praise in some circles for showing more openness to congressional oversight.

But the actions have angered some lawmakers who think the administration's purported concessions mean little. Some Republicans said that the White House came closer to suffering a big setback than is widely known, and that President Bush must be more forthcoming about the eavesdropping program to retain Congress's good will.

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Listen to THE MAN

Just want to share a brief quote from Alberto J. Mora, the outgoing general counsel of the United States Navy and staunch conservative Republican, a political appointee, taken from a New Yorker article by Jane Mayer entitled "The Memo," concerning the statements of Mr. Mora, a son of immigrant parents from Hungary and, more interestingly, Cuba, describing what he considered to be a wrongheaded approach to the treatment of "detainees" at Guantánamo Bay.

Mora thinks that the media has focussed too narrowly on allegations of U.S.-sanctioned torture. As he sees it, the authorization of cruelty is equally pernicious. “To my mind, there’s no moral or practical distinction,” he told me. “If cruelty is no longer declared unlawful, but instead is applied as a matter of policy, it alters the fundamental relationship of man to government. It destroys the whole notion of individual rights. The Constitution recognizes that man has an inherent right, not bestowed by the state or laws, to personal dignity, including the right to be free of cruelty. It applies to all human beings, not just in America—even those designated as ‘unlawful enemy combatants.’ If you make this exception, the whole Constitution crumbles. It’s a transformative issue.”

That about says it all.

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Ho-hum... Just another day... Just another revelation of someone speaking out about Bushco abuse...

it's interesting that it doesn't seem to matter how many people are finally speaking up, what their concerns are, how important or influential they are (or were) or how many times they repeat themselves, bushco rolls right along, stopping only briefly to spin or deny... i gotta ask, what will it take to force these bastards against the wall...? on the other hand, like i said the other day in a different context, i'm not sure i wanna know the answer...
The Navy's general counsel warned Pentagon officials two years before the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that circumventing international agreements on torture and detainees' treatment would invite abuse, according to a published report.

Legal theories granting the president the right to authorize abuse despite the Geneva Conventions were unlawful, dangerous and erroneous, then-General Counsel Alberto J. Mora advised officials in a secret memo. The 22-page document was obtained by the New Yorker for an article in its Feb. 27 issue.

hmmmm... really...? nothing new here... oops, look at the time... 8 o'clock already... better get the water on for coffee...

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Church of England's #2 joins the chorus of those calling for the close of Gitmo

never let it be said that bushco pays the slightest bit of attention to voices raised in opposition to its criminal ways, no matter how many, no matter how credible, no matter how forceful...
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has launched a passionate attack on President George Bush, saying his administration's refusal to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay camp reflected "a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm".


Archbishop Sentamu's comments will strengthen the increasingly insistent international pressure for Guantanamo to be closed. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for its closure, after similar appeals by Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, and the UN secretary general Kofi Annan.


"The main building block of a democratic society is that everyone is equal before the law, innocent until proved otherwise, and has the right to legal representation. If the guilt of the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay is beyond doubt, why are the Americans afraid to bring them to trial? [...] The events of 9/11 cannot erase the rule of law and international obligations.

wait just a cotton-pickin' minute... i distinctly heard george say that 9/11 "changed everything..." he suspended geneva for terrorist detainees because they were not "enemy combatants..." he sought a department of justice opinion that declared he was not subject to the u.n. conventions against torture... he's adopted the theory of the "unitary executive..." he put john bolton in as u.n. ambassador without senate confirmation to reinforce unilateral action by the u.s. in foreign policy and to circumvent u.n. policies... he's ignored f.i.s.a. and conducted warrantless spying on countless citizens in the u.s... and, you, honorable archbishop, say that 9/11 "cannot erase the rule of law and international obligations...?" you obviously haven't been paying attention...
"The US should try all 500 detainees at Guantanamo, who still include eight British residents, or free them without further delay. To hold someone for up to four years without charge clearly indicates a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm."

and, on top of that, you accuse george bush of being orwellian...? tsk, tsk...

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It's all about distracting us...

Profmarcus sent me this joke today:

I recently picked a new primary care physician. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age.
A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"
He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer/wine?"
"Oh no," I replied, "I'm not doing either."
Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"
I said, "No, my other Doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!"
"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"
"No, I don't," I said.
He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"
"No," I said. "I don't do any of those things."
He looked at me and said, "Then why do you give a shit?"

I read this on the heels of this NYT article, Women's Health Studies Leave Questions in Place of Certainty. This article is a follow-up to recent disclosures that, contrary to the popular wisdom, low-fat diets and calcium supplementation do no appear to provide women with greater protection from breast cancer, heart disease or bone fractures.
The researchers admit that the findings were an unexpected and puzzling challenge to firmly held, almost religious beliefs about nutrition and health.

That quote reminded me of a eye-opening book I read years ago, that began my odyssey, not only out of my eating disorder, but to a broader view of what is done to women in our culture to keep them fearful and preoccupied so as not to allow them too much room to engage fully in the world, and make a difference. In the case of The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf focuses on the ways women are focused on attaining unrealistic standards of beauty and how they are punished by our culture if they don't, and even more so, how they punish themselves, both mentally and physically, for not attaining this standard.

Further in my journey I read The Obsession by Kim Chernin, a number of books by Geneen Roth, Jane R. Hirschmann, Carole M. Munter, and Carol Emory Normandi and Laurelee Roark, among others.

What these women taught me was that all my obsession served to do was disconnect me from the wisdom of my body, and further, to give me an out from participating in the greater world outside my self-made prison. I quit playing the "Change your body, change your life" game, started listening to my body, and lo and behold, the yo-yo weight stablized, and better still, I got sane.

Finally, I began to see the diet and "health" industry to be just another in a series of fear-inducing devices designed to keep us cowed and in line. If we are told that we aren't worthy of participating in our society until we look a certain way, achieve a certain level of health, wealth or whatever, we remain focused on our tiny little world of weight loss, aerobic fitness, cholesterol numbers, or wealth acquisition without ever thinking to lift our eyes to the greater world beyond where atrocity upon atrocity abounds.

So, I clicked on the NYT article to see if there would be some sound advice for women. Would there be any advice, similar to what our parents and grandparents told us many years ago that moderation is the key? What I found instead was an article that continues to regurgitate the establishment view, and instead of telling women to trust the wisdom of their bodies, they act like we are uncontrollable five-year-olds with statements like this:
But the researchers who conducted the study said their findings were not a signal to binge on bacon cheeseburgers.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. Good Gawd.
"I was a little uncomfortable with some of the reactions," said Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative, the program that has created the stir. It worries him, he said, that some people think the studies mean fat and calcium do not matter.

"It's not what we say, and I don't think it's what the papers say," Dr. Rossouw said.

"For folks who are on a low-fat diet, by all means continue," he added. "If you're on a high-fat diet, certainly get it down. That's the message we would like to send."

See? It doesn't matter what the study says. It doesn't matter that high incidents of cancer and heart disease might be related to other things like, oh, say, all the toxins that are being spewed into the environment, or even the explosion of prepared foods filled with all sorts of chemicals and corn syrup. Never, ever, will any of these studies do a seven-year study on the effects of agri-business on our health. Oh no. It's us. We just can't control ourselves. But you see, they know the truth. And they have to obey their corporate masters. So, as is always the case, they put onus on us. And so we continue to believe them, distracted and blaming ourselves.

We are a nation of co-dependents, always blaming ourselves for our mate's abuse, and never, ever entertaining the notion that it might not be our fault.

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NSA Spying... Legal - ¿Sí o no?


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN)


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

why don't you guys go into the other room, hash this out and get back to me when you've worked it out, ok...?

(thanks to think progress...)

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It's Sunday

i've been browsing blogs and news sites all morning, sitting in front of a fan as the temp here in buenos aires slowly rises to what will probably be about 30+C (90+F)... it looks like a lotta same ol' same ol' stuff floating around - plenty of cheney re-hash, various and sundry mary matalin and tim russert bashing (worthy causes both), and a dizzying array of fisa and nsa-related stories and perspectives... meanwhile, bush is still president, rove is comfortably ensconced on his throne of darkness watching snuff movies of political opponents, cheney is sitting on his front porch swing with a shotgun on his lap, picking off the neighbor kids who step on his lawn, and rumsfeld is quite likely perusing brochures for cryogenic preservation after death... maybe there'll be something startling to come out of the sunday talk shows and, hey, we still have wolf blitzer and cnn's late edition on tap... yawn... a nice nap is sounding better and better...

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