Some disassembly required
Gee, someone was nice enough to give the idiot that word-of-the-day toilet paper, and when his big chance comes he not only blows it, but decides to lecture the press to further impress them with his ignorance.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm aware of the Amnesty International report, and it's absurd. It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.So many Bushisms in two paragraphs! I guess my favorite for taking a quote slightly out of context, which is the only way to keep Bush from "disassemble"-ing (!), would be
In terms of the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations -- by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is.
The United States is a country that is -- promotes freedom around the world. When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way. It's just an absurd allegation.Actually, two.
I expressed my concerns about the case to President Putin because, as I explained to him, here you're innocent until proven guilty, and it appeared to us, or at least people in my administration, that it looked like he had been judged guilty prior to having a fair trial. In other words, he was put in prison, and then was tried.Two words, idiot--Jose Padilla.
That's our Dick: lies, elisions, misdirection, false analogies -- the same stew he served up before the Iraq War, when he was the leading dispenser of iron certitude about the imminent threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. In fact, the Bush Regime has done us all a favor by unleashing Dick to bark and belch on the subject of American torture. For Cheney is a pole star by which we can all plot our course on the roiling sea of spin and propaganda: whatever he says -- anything, on any subject -- is 100 percent guaranteed to be a lie. If you want to know the truth, simply look to the opposite of Cheney's assertions. If he says Iraq has WMD -- it doesn't. If he says the Bush Regime is not engaged in wholesale torture -- it is.
Just in this administration, we've liberated 50 million people from the Taliban in Afghanistan and from Saddam Hussein in Iraq, two terribly repressive regimes that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their own people.-- Dick "Dick" Cheney
The U.S. military nearly set off a sectarian crisis Monday by mistakenly arresting the leader of Iraq's top Sunni Muslim political party...--AP
Few details were available on why the Americans arrested the Sunni leader, but it appeared to be related to the ongoing Sunni-led insurgency and fears of a broader sectarian conflict starting up.
The U.S. military acknowledged it had made a "mistake" by detaining Abdul-Hamid.
"Following the interview, it was determined that he was detained by mistake and should be released," the military said. "Coalition forces regret any inconvenience and acknowledge (Abdul-Hamid's) cooperation in resolving this matter."
Iraqi authorities suggested someone had planted "lies" against him in a bid to stir up "sectarian sedition."
Abdul-Hamid himself said U.S. forces questioned him about the "current situation," an apparent reference to the wave of attacks.
Following his release, Abdul-Hamid told reporters how "U.S. special forces" blew open the doors to his home "and dragged (his sons and guards) outside like sheep."
"They forced me to lay on the ground along with my sons and guards and one of the soldiers put his foot on my neck for 20 minutes," he told Al-Jazeera TV.
Soldiers later put him into a helicopter and flew him to an unknown location for more questioning, he said. He said he did not know the whereabouts of his sons and guards.
"At the time when the Americans say they are keen on real Sunni participation, they are now arresting the head of the only Sunni party that calls for a peaceful solution and have participated in the political process," said Iraqi Islamic Party Secretary-General Ayad al-Samarei.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, expressed "surprise and discontent" over the arrest.
"This way of dealing with such a distinguished political figure is unacceptable," he said.
"Guantanamo's been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. ... I think these people have been well treated, treated humanely and decently," Cheney said.If there's any justice anywhere in the world, Cheney will someday get to experience Gitmo hospitality for himself, and for the rest of his miserable life.
The Chávez government, for its part, has forged ahead with various spectacular social projects, assisted by the huge jump in oil prices, from $10 to $50 a barrel over the past six years. Instead of gushing into the coffers of the already wealthy, the oil pipelines have been picked up and directed into the shanty towns, funding health, education and cheap food. Foreign leaders from Spain and Brazil, Chile and Cuba, have come on pilgrimage to Caracas to establish links with the man now perceived as the leader of new emerging forces in Latin America, with popularity ratings to match. This extensive external support has stymied the plans of the US government to rally the countries of Latin America against Venezuela. They are not listening, and Washington is left without a policy.I can vouch for his charisma and the fervency of his supporters (and detractors). Low oil prices in the late 1990's made it possible for him to take power, and the high oil prices of 2005 have given him a great chance to succeed. Chavez seems to be up to the task, although it is a formidable one.
Chávez himself, a youthful former army colonel of 51, is now perceived in Latin America as the most unusual and original political figure to have emerged since Fidel Castro broke on to the scene nearly 50 years ago. With huge charm and charisma, he has an infinite capacity to relate to the poor and marginal population of the continent. A largely self-educated intellectual, the ideology of his Bolivarian revolution is based on the writings and actions of a handful of exemplary figures from the 19th century, most notably Simón Bolívar, the man who liberated most of South America from Spanish rule. Chávez offers a cultural as well as a political alternative to the prevailing US-inspired model that dominates Latin America.
So, what does his Bolivarian revolution consist of? He is friendly with Castro - indeed, they are close allies - yet he is no out-of-fashion state socialist. Capitalism is alive and well in Venezuela - and secure. There have been no illegal land seizures, no nationalizations of private companies. Chávez seeks to curb the excesses of what he terms "savage neo-liberalism", and he wants the state to play an intelligent and enabling role in the economy, but he has no desire to crush small businesses, as has happened in Cuba. International oil companies have fallen over themselves to provide fresh investment, even after the government increased the royalties that they have to pay. Venezuela remains a golden goose that cannot be ignored.
What is undoubtedly old fashioned about Chávez is his ability to talk about race and class, subjects once fashionable that have long been taboo, and to discuss them in the context of poverty. In much of Latin America, particularly in the countries of the Andes, the long-suppressed native peoples have begun to organize and make political demands for the first time since the 18th century, and Chávez is the first president in the continent to have picked up their banner and made it his own.
Any progress on the Roadmap for Peace must be based on real change on the ground, as evidenced by the establishment of an accountable, and reconstituted Palestinian security force that prevents terrorism, not promotes it.So which neocon whack-job said all this Sharon's-giant-butt-kissing BS? John Bolton? Paul Wolfowitz?
Fortunately, Palestinian Authority President Abbas is no Yasir Arafat. He has condemned terrorism in Arabic, stating that it prolongs the day that the Palestinian goal of statehood can be achieved, and, at least as significant, stating that terrorism is immoral. He has begun to restructure the security services. All that is commendable.
But he has not removed Arafat's corrupt cronies from positions of power, nor has he moved to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. That is, I am sorry to say, cause for concern. President Abbas has said his goal is to establish the rule of law, but he has done nowhere near enough to realize that vision...
There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This is absolute nonsense. In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist.
The greatest threat to Israel's right to exist, with the prospect of devastating violence, now comes from Iran. For too long, leaders of both political parties in the United States have not done nearly enough to confront the Russians and the Chinese, who have supplied Iran as it has plowed ahead with its nuclear and missile technology.
The people of Israel long for peace and are willing to make the sacrifices to achieve it. We hope that peace and security come soon - and that this moment of opportunity is not lost. As Israel continues to take risks for peace, she will have no friend more steadfast that the United States.
In the words of Isaiah, we will make ourselves to Israel 'as hiding places from the winds and shelters from the tempests; as rivers of water in dry places; as shadows of a great rock in a weary land.'
The United States will stand with Israel now and forever. Now and forever.
THE RAF and US aircraft doubled the rate at which they were dropping bombs on Iraq in 2002 in an attempt to provoke Saddam Hussein into giving the allies an excuse for war, new evidence has shown.A Tiny Revolution has more.
The attacks were intensified from May, six months before the United Nations resolution that Tony Blair and Lord Goldsmith, the attorney-general, argued gave the coalition the legal basis for war. By the end of August the raids had become a full air offensive.
The White House is determined to distance itself from any attempts at bipartisanship, refusing to hand documents over to the Senate which the D’s say bear on John Bolton’s fitness to serve as ambassador to the UN. Sez Scotty McClellan, “The Democrats who are clamoring for this have already voted against John Bolton. This is about partisan politics, not documents. They have the information they need.” What Scotty is forgetting is that the Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, in which decisions arise out of open discussion and debate: the “clamoring” D’s may have made up their own minds, but they still have a perfectly legitimate need for information they can use to try to convince others to reconsider. That would be how it would work in a truly deliberative body where decisions weren’t based on party label, where congressional members of the president’s party are not expected to support his every decision mindlessly and automatically.I guess since the White House prefers to make decisions based on inadequate information, they think everyone else should too.
The most effective step you can take to cut oil dependence and decrease global warming.That's from the envelope of a letter I received from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Fearful yet intrigued, I opened the envelope, hoping to see that they actually had found or were at least supporting a truly effective way to cut fuel consumption. Instead, my fears were confirmed. This is what it says in the letter:
You also probably know that the simplest, most cost-effective way to reduce our consumption of oil in the United States is to increase the fuel economy of motor vehicles.(emphasis in original)
When I spoke to the Class of 2001, none of us imagined that a few months later we would suffer a devastating surprise attack on our homeland, or that our nation would be plunged into a global war unlike any we had known before. Today, we face brutal and determined enemies -- men who celebrate murder, incite suicide, and thirst for absolute power. These enemies will not be stopped by negotiations, or concessions, or appeals to reason.Of course they won't, because none of those things will ever be tried. And "none of us imagined?" Ever hear of John O'Neill, or Richard Clarke, or Chalmers Johnson? And the nation "would be plunged into a global war?" The 9/11 hijackers didn't do that, idiot--you did. And these sentences seem to be pretty conclusive evidence that W is still doing cocaine:
Thanks to the men and women of the United States military, our strategy is working -- we are winning the war on terror. Since September 11, 2001, we've removed brutal regimes in Kabul and Baghdad that supported and harbored terrorists. We helped launch Afghanistan and Iraq on the path to lasting freedom by liberating over 50 million people.As Jonathan Schwartz said, you just have to hope he knows he's lying. Because if he believes his own BS we're in even deeper than we thought.
The best way to protect our citizens is to stay on the offensive. In the last few weeks, we've dealt the enemy a series of powerful blows. In Afghanistan, we brought to justice scores of terrorists and insurgents. In Pakistan, one of Osama Bin Laden's senior terrorist leaders, a man named al-Libbi, was brought to justice. In Iraq, we captured two senior operatives of the terrorist Zarqawi. And in recent days, our forces have killed or captured hundreds of terrorists and insurgents in Baghdad and Western Iraq and near the Syrian border. Across the world, our military is standing directly between the American people and the worst dangers in the world, and Americans are grateful to have such brave defenders.
Shut it down. Just shut it down.Gee, Tom, would have been your best paragraph ever, except for the last five words. A new generation disliking America because of the crimes of Gitmo wouldn't make them "bad guys." The last sentence should have read "I would rather have a few more bad guys roaming the world than have a whole new generation despise us for totally unnecessary crimes."
I am talking about the war-on-terrorism P.O.W. camp at Guantánamo Bay. Just shut it down and then plow it under. It has become worse than an embarrassment. I am convinced that more Americans are dying and will die if we keep the Gitmo prison open than if we shut it down. So, please, Mr. President, just shut it down.
If you want to appreciate how corrosive Guantánamo has become for America's standing abroad, don't read the Arab press. Don't read the Pakistani press. Don't read the Afghan press. Hop over here to London or go online and just read the British press! See what our closest allies are saying about Gitmo. And when you get done with that, read the Australian press and the Canadian press and the German press.
[I]t is now obvious from reports in my own paper and others that the abuse at Guantánamo and within the whole U.S. military prison system dealing with terrorism is out of control. Tell me, how is it that over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody so far? Heart attacks? This is not just deeply immoral, it is strategically dangerous.
Guantánamo Bay is becoming the anti-Statue of Liberty. If we have a case to be made against any of the 500 or so inmates still in Guantánamo, then it is high time we put them on trial, convict as many possible (which will not be easy because of bungled interrogations) and then simply let the rest go home or to a third country. Sure, a few may come back to haunt us. But at least they won't be able to take advantage of Guantánamo as an engine of recruitment to enlist thousands more. I would rather have a few more bad guys roaming the world than a whole new generation.
Here's the disturbing spin: The Pentagon isn't simply denying the allegations and leaving it at that. It's doing an interesting, and revealing bit of explanation:Obviously, di Rita has decided that, now that the story has been corroborated by the Red Cross, the FBI, and other news organizations besides Newsweek, the only audience he can possibly hope to convince is the domestic wingnuts and their enablers in Congress and the media. Pitting it as our glorious heroes in uniform against those smelly al Qaeda terrorists who caused 9/11 could only sell to those who really want to be deceived.
Di Rita, the chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said that U.S. military officials at Guantanamo Bay had recently found a separate record of the same allegation by the same detainee, and he was re-interviewed on May 14. "He did not corroborate his own allegation," Di Rita said.
Asked why he felt certain that this detainee did not affirm his allegation out of fear of retaliation, Di Rita said, "It's a judgment call, and I trust the judgment of the commanders more than I trust the judgment of Al Qaeda."
That snarky response plays well in a media that, as I was talking about a few days ago, doesn't accept anything until it comes from an official source, and gives those sources far more deference than they have earned. What kind of monster, after all, takes the word of a terrorist over that of America's finest and bravest?
The problem is, Di Rita's spin to cover up the original lie contains a new lie. Let's set aside, for a moment, the fact that some of our commanders have a few credibility issues, and just focus on the last part of Di Rita's statement. Does he have any real reason to believe the prisoner who charged that the Koran was abused was a member of Al Qaeda? Many of the "terrorists" America has seized in recent years have turned out to be innocent bystanders and even victims of vendettas. Some, like Dilawar, the young man who was beaten to death at Bagram in Afghanistan, were imprisoned for crimes that may have been committed by the people who turned them in. Others -- Omar Deghayes and Khaled el-Masri, for instance -- were victims of mistaken identity.
Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".Don't stop there, "Frenchy" Jones. The word is "impeach." Call it "freedompeach" if you want. Just do it.
"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Detainees at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged in 2002 that guards mistreated the Quran, according to some of the hundreds of FBI documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union.So, in the past two weeks, we've learned that a) the riots in Afghanistan had little to do with the Newsweek story--just one more sign and chant at the protests, and b) the story was almost certainly true in the basic facts--Koran abuse including throwing it in the toilet.
The ACLU obtained the documents from the FBI through a federal court order in a lawsuit based on a Freedom of Information Act request. Most of them are records of detainee interviews with FBI agents.
According to the documents, released Wednesday by the ACLU, a detainee interviewed in August 2002 said guards had flushed a copy of the Quran in a toilet.
The latest military investigation, exposed by the Post earlier this month, "showed that soldiers in Afghanistan knew almost immediately that they had killed Tillman by mistake in what they believed was a firefight with enemies on a tight canyon road. The investigation also revealed that soldiers later burned Tillman's uniform and body armor."
Patrick Tillman Sr., the father -- a lawyer, as it happens -- said he blames high-ranking Army officers for presenting "outright lies" to the family and to the public. "After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," he told the Post. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."
"Maybe lying's not a big deal anymore," he said. "Pat's dead, and this isn't going to bring him back. But these guys should have been held up to scrutiny, right up the chain of command, and no one has."
Mary Tillman, the mother, complained to the Post that the government used her son for weeks after his death. She said she was particularly offended when President Bush offered a taped memorial message to Tillman at a Cardinals football game shortly before the presidential election last fall.
The trio of extremist judges who will now dance right into lifetime appointments are all walking travesties, but it turns out all three are headed for courts that are already stacked with scary right-wingers. So in the near-term, at least, the GOP's biggest win here actually affects little.
I take a moment to note that I'm seeking consolation in the fact that many of our circuit courts are already controlled by lunatics.
It's dangerous, with multiple ill health effects such as mental confusion and brain dysfunction, fatigue and weakness, muscle and joint pain, sinus infection, headache, gastrointestinal problems, shortness of breath, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, heart palpitations, numbness/tingling, laryngitis.Wow, there are a few prescription drugs on the market with fewer side effects than that.
Some of the species are now being linked to cancer, diabetes, immune system dysfunction, reproductive system dysfunction, and some can even destroy the cornea of the eye.Anyway, that's why I cleaned my shower curtain tonight! I'm investigating how this can be blamed on Bush.
The R’s have agreed to allow the D’s to keep the right to filibuster, unless they actually try to use it.Extortion, I think, is the word for it.
Although R’s have been complaining about a minority of senators trying to dictate to the majority, this deal was arranged by 14 senators. Including Joseph Lieberman, which is the Suckiness Seal of Approval.
This nonsense has got to stop! The state of Ohio has offered Ford an $83 million incentive package to build Mercury SUV's at its Avon Lake Assembly Plant near Cleveland. GM recently threatened to move assembly of its silly Chevrolet SSR (V8 powered two-seat roadster pickup mutant) unless Lansing, Michigan agreed to lower pollution standards. Politicians in Montgomery, Alabama were ecstatic that Hyundai agreed to build a 2000-job assembly plant there for only $133 million in state and local bribe money. That's $66,500 per job! Corporations have pitted city against city, state against state, and with NAFTA and WTO, country against country in a bidding war for jobs. Ralph Nader, in his book Crashing the Party, describes a recent case where Daimler-Chrysler squeezed millions out of Toledo and Ohio to locate a Jeep plant in Toledo. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed to build the plant, and an economic downturn resulted in far fewer jobs being created than were promised. I don't know all the answers, but it sure seems like corporations should be paying states substantial fees for the privilege of doing business within their borders, not the other way around. There is now more real competition between Michigan, Alabama and Mexico than there is between Ford, GM, and Daimler-Chrysler. This benefits the shareholders and executives of the corporations to the detriment of the citizens of the states and countries. We need to realize that we have more than enough stuff and that economic activity and jobs aren't the necessities--food, clothing and shelter are.Well, I was watching "Desperate Housewives" last night, and a commercial comes on saying that Hyundai's new US manufacturing plant is now open. The grand opening was last Friday, featuring Hyundai Chairman Mong-Koo Chung and Alabama Governor Bob Riley. And there was, apparently, a surprise visitor--former president George H.W. Poppy Ready My Lips Bush 41:
Connect the dots: Nazi Klaus Barbie, Bolivia's Cocaine Coup, weird sex rituals, George H.W. Bush. Okay, a few more hints: The Washington Times, Korea, mass weddings, Capitol Hill coronations, the title of this post. Now, if you worked for the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, you'd come up with the same answer you always did: Saddam Hussein. Otherwise, you probably guessed, correctly, that the dots are connected by the extremely strange person named Sun Myung Moon.That post was based on Robert Parry's book Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. That book has lots on Rev. Moon, including this delightful passage:
"History will make the position of Reverend Moon clear, and his enemies, the American population and government will bow down to him," Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That is Father's tactic, the natural subjugation of the American government and population."No wonder Poppy is such a pal of his--their families have the same goal.
Forty-six percent of 1,006 adults polled over the weekend said they approved of the overall job Bush is doing, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.Then again, what the Cheney can the 46% find to approve of?
Jose Padilla represents the crowning achievement in the war on terror. As the situation in Haiti and Afghanistan steadily deteriorates, and as America's 8 divisions continue to bog-down in the Iraqi quagmire; the administration's one unassailable accomplishment is the death-blow it has delivered to the Bill of Rights. Padilla now faces his 4th year of captivity without any formal charges filed against him and without any reasonable expectation of defending himself in a court of law.
Happy anniversary, Jose.
The government defends its detention of Padilla on the grounds that he is an "enemy combatant". The term "enemy combatant" means "presumed guilty" and its application to US citizens or foreign nationals allows the state to operate outside the confines of international human rights law and the Bill of Rights. Simply put, it is the end of the rule of law in America and a rejection of a legal tradition that dates back 800 years.
In Washington, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said U.S. President George W. Bush was "alarmed by the reports of prisoner abuse," and wants them thoroughly investigated. Duffy said seven people were being investigated about reported abuse at Bagram.Hey morons! The NY Times story on Friday was based on a 2000-page from the Army's criminal investigation into the case. Investigating again will be seen, correctly, as a delaying and whitewashing tactic. What is needed now is to make sure that the torture stops, that the victims be freed, and that everyone in the chain of command who facilitated the torture, whether by omission or commission, be fired and/or prosecuted. The cowardly system of private and corporal punishment, prosecuting only those at the bottom of the totem pole who actually performed the torture, is a sham, and the whole world knows it. As long as master criminals like Rumsfeld, Myers, Sanchez, Gonzales and Bush retain their jobs and their freedom, the world will know that Americans are the biggest hypocrites in the world.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian village was left baffled Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.
NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.
"It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.
Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.
"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.
Marge: Oh, now we'll have to find a new school for you.Fox pushes the envelope in so many directions at once it's hard to track. The Simpsons and Arrested Development take wonderful shots at the misadministration and the right-wing noise machine (Arrested Development had one hilarious episode ridiculing the search for WMD's in Iraq and Fox News' coverage of it). Meanwhile Fox News has its team of windbags telling wingnuts how to think.
Homer: Yeah, and if you get kicked out of that one, you're going straight in the army, where you'll get sent to America's latest military quagmire. Where will it be? North Korea? Iran? Anything's possible with Commander Cookoo Bananas in charge.
Although incidents of prisoner abuse at Bagram in 2002, including some details of the two men's deaths, have been previously reported, American officials have characterized them as isolated problems that were thoroughly investigated. And many of the officers and soldiers interviewed in the Dilawar investigation said the large majority of detainees at Bagram were compliant and reasonably well treated.The war in Afghanistan has been totally FUBAR since it began. Ignoring the facts that the main perpertrators of 9/11 were ALREADY DEAD, that none were Afgans (or Iraqis, for that matter), and that a brutal war was going to do nothing to bring back the lives lost on 9/11 or to make anyone safer, the bombs started falling on one of the poorest, most frequently brutalized nations on earth in October 2001. The previous puppet Taliban regime, backed by the Pakistanis, the Saudis, and occasionally the US, was tossed aside and a new one installed, killing thousands in the process. Opium production resumed, chaos returned, and Afghans continued to die horrible deaths at a high rate. And the US military began exploring the various ways available to raise the ire of the Muslim world.
"What we have learned through the course of all these investigations is that there were people who clearly violated anyone's standard for humane treatment," said the Pentagon's chief spokesman, Larry Di Rita. "We're finding some cases that were not close calls."
Yet the Bagram file includes ample testimony that harsh treatment by some interrogators was routine and that guards could strike shackled detainees with virtual impunity. Prisoners considered important or troublesome were also handcuffed and chained to the ceilings and doors of their cells, sometimes for long periods, an action Army prosecutors recently classified as criminal assault.
1. Core prices hold steadySo, for you Wednesday readers, it's runaway inflation. For Thursday readers, inflation is under control. Blog readers already know that newspaper headlines mean nothing.
By Jeannine Aversa / Associated Press
Big jumps in energy and food costs pushed consumer prices higher in April, but many other prices calmed down, easing fears about a broad outbreak of inflation.
Thursday, May 19, 2005 (MercuryNews.com)
2. Energy, food costs boost consumer prices
JEANNINE AVERSA / Associated Press
Big jumps in energy and food costs pushed consumer prices higher in April, but many other prices calmed down, easing fears about a broad outbreak of inflation. That sparked a rally on Wall Street. ... economists and investors, though, was that "core" prices - excluding volatile ...
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Just to be crystal clear, what the senate is about to do is not changing their rules. They are about to find that their existing rules are unconstitutional, thus getting around the established procedures by which senate rules can be changed.
. . .
For that to be true stands not only the simple logic of the constitution, but two hundred years of our constitutional history, on its head. You don't even need to go into the fact that other judicial nominations have been filibustered, or that many others have been prevented from coming to a vote by invocation of various other senate rules, both formal and informal, or that almost countless numbers of presidential nominees of all kinds have simply never made it out of committee. Indeed, the whole senate committee system probably cannot withstand this novel and outlandish interpretation of the constitution, since one of its main functions is to review presidential appointees before passing them on to the full senate.
Quite simply, the senate is empowered by the constitution to enact its own rules.
You can think the filibuster is a terrible idea. And you may think that it should be abolished, as indeed it can be through the rules of the senate. And there are decent arguments to made on that count. But to assert that it is unconstitutional because each judge does not get an up or down vote by the entire senate you have to hold that the United States senate has been in more or less constant violation of the constitution for more than two centuries.
In Orwell’s 1984, the character Syme, one of the writers of that totalitarian society’s dictionary, explains to the protagonist Winston, “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking — not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy — or worse.
Life in the United States now is like being trapped on a jet piloted by people who keep claiming there's a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies—and they're going to use it to fly us all through to the other side. You just have to pray to god they know they're lying.
When I was a kid, I remember reading about how democracies ended. What surprised me was how often it was a peaceful takeover. Fascists took power in many places not through force, but through rigged elections, broken rules, and consolidation of power, all hidden behind flags and God and promises of glory.
Today, the fanatics who have seized the GOP are beginning their attempt to flagrantly break a half-dozen Senate rules which have existed for generations in order to install federal judges more interested in ideology than precedent.
If this "nuclear option" works, they will very likely soon begin stacking the Supreme Court as they wish... The very laws of our nation itself could soon be under the fundamentalists' control.
It's happening right now.
Man. I never thought things would get so bad I'd be thinking of Arlen Specter and John Sununu as possible lights in the darkness.
I think they broke me. They just overloaded my systems, and now I just don’t have enough contempt, sarcasm and outrage with which to respond to this. I thought it was bad last week when Tom DeLay accused the Democrats of having no class, but now I’m just broken. I may have to watch Teletubbies for the next few hours; if I see Bush’s face or hear his voice I’ll just have nothing left. So cold. So cold.
I'm not sure I'm in the mood to see a movie where the punch line is forces of evil consolidating into a fascist empire spread across the galaxy.
George W. Bush and his gang of neocon warmongers have destroyed America's reputation. It is likely to stay destroyed, because at this point the only way to restore America's reputation would be to impeach and convict President Bush for intentionally deceiving Congress and the American people in order to start a war of aggression against a country that posed no threat to the US. America can redeem itself only by holding Bush accountable.
America's reputation is so damaged that not even our puppets can stand the heat.
One thing that I'm predicting is that there will be a vigorous and futile defense of suburbia and all its entitlements, no matter what reality is telling us to do. And this will translate into a lot of political mischief. You can quote me: Americans will vote for cornpone Nazis before they will give up their entitlements to a McHouse and a McCar.
Of course, one could argue that they already have voted for cornpone Nazis.
Life in the United States now is like being trapped on a jet piloted by people who keep claiming there's a huge secret tunnel through the Rockies—and they're going to use it to fly us all through to the other side. You just have to pray to god they know they're lying.
Labels: Quote du jour
I think they broke me. They just overloaded my systems, and now I just don’t have enough contempt, sarcasm and outrage with which to respond to this. I thought it was bad last week when Tom DeLay accused the Democrats of having no class, but now I’m just broken. I may have to watch Teletubbies for the next few hours; if I see Bush’s face or hear his voice I’ll just have nothing left. So cold. So cold.This great cartoon from Jen Sorensen a couple of weeks ago sums up the situation:
On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.There's video too.
"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.
"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
"I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."-- Lt. Cmdr. Robert Klant, presiding at Pablo Paredes' court-martial.
I testified during the sentencing hearing at Pablo's court-martial as a defense expert on the legality of the war in Iraq, and the commission of war crimes by US forces. My testimony corroborated the reasonableness of Pablo's beliefs. I told the judge that the war violates the United Nations Charter, which forbids the use of force, unless carried out in self-defense or with the approval of the Security Council, neither of which obtained before Bush invaded Iraq. I also said that torture and inhuman treatment, which have been documented in Iraqi prisons, constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, and are considered war crimes under the US War Crimes Statute. The United States has ratified both the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions, making them part of the supreme law of the land under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.Of course, the judge could have thrown in Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Haiti once or twice or thrice, and probably a dozen others, not to mention the ones the Bushies are planning now.
I noted that the Uniform Code of Military Justice requires that all military personnel obey lawful orders. Article 92 of the UCMJ says, "A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States...." Both the Nuremberg Principles and the Army Field Manual create a duty to disobey unlawful orders. Article 509 of Field Manual 27-10, codifying another Nuremberg Principle, specifies that "following superior orders" is not a defense to the commission of war crimes, unless the accused "did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know that the act ordered was unlawful."
I concluded that the Iraq war is illegal. US troops who participate in the war are put in a position to commit war crimes. By boarding that ship and delivering Marines to Iraq - to fight in an illegal war, and possibly to commit war crimes - Pablo would have been complicit in those crimes. Therefore, orders to board that ship were illegal, and Pablo had a duty to disobey them.
On cross-examination, Navy prosecutor Lt. Jonathan Freeman elicited testimony from me that the US wars in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan also violated the UN Charter, as neither was conducted in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council. Upon the conclusion of my testimony, the judge said, "I think that the government has successfully proved that any service member has reasonable cause to believe that the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq were illegal."
Labels: Quote du jour
As intent as Republicans were to impeach President Clinton for lying about a sexual affair, they have a blind eye for President Bush's far more serious lies. Bush's lies have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, injured and maimed tens of thousands more, devastated a country, destroyed America's reputation, caused one billion Muslims to hate America, ruined our alliances with Europe, created a police state at home, and squandered $300 billion dollars and counting.
America's reputation is so damaged that not even our puppets can stand the heat. Anti-American riots, which have left Afghan cities and towns in flames and hospitals overflowing with casualties, have forced Bush's Afghan puppet, "president" Hamid Karzai, to assert his independence from his US overlords. In a belated act of sovereignty, Karzai asserted authority over heavy-handed US troops whose brutal and stupid ways sparked the devastating riots. Karzai demanded control of US military activities in Afghanistan and called for the return of the Afghan detainees who are being held at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the flap was a reminder that people "need to be very careful about what they say."In fact, in my case, added Rummy, I've never once done it in all of my 137 years.
"People are dead, and that's unfortunate," Rumsfeld told reporters. "People need to be very careful about what they say just as people need to be careful about what they do."
"People have said, 'My goodness, why does it take so long for someone to come back with and have the actual facts?'" Rumsfeld said. "Well, it takes a long time to be truthful, to be responsible."
"We'll deal with it the same way we have been dealing with it -- by being transparent, up front and open about our policies and what our soldiers do," Boucher said.What an obnoxious, lying douchebag. It's bad enough that they are completely opaque and close-mouthed about everything they do, but to just come out and claim the exact opposite...it's SO in character for this lying piece of filth of an administration.
I was in Tallahassee, Florida, last week talking to a large room full of planning officials. My message was pretty straightforward: every new housing subdivision, every new strip mall, every parking lagoon and big box chain-store pod that you issue approvals for from this point on will lead your country deeper into tragedy.Kunstler's blog features plenty of posts about the coming peak-oil apocalypse, with lots of good discussion in the comments. I like his blog because it makes me seem like an optimist.
The response was apathetic, as though I were giving a class in Chinese algebra.
Florida is one of the multiple epicenters of a hypertrophic suburban growth machine that has taken the place of the US economy. Reforming it is unimaginable because without the business generated by a cancer-like replication of car infrastructure, the economy would consist of little besides hair cutting, fried chicken, and open heart surgery. In places like Florida (and California, and northern Virginia, and Las Vegas, and Dallas), all citizens are complicit in the drive toward tragedy because all want business-as-usual to continue. The idea that any set of circumstances might put a stop to it is laughable to them. What can you do for such a people determined to commit civilizational suicide?
"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Mark Whitaker, Newsweek's editor, wrote in the issue of the magazine that goes on sale at newsstands today. In an accompanying article, the magazine wrote that its reporters had relied on an American government official, whom it has not identified, who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.Of course, the Bushies are all huffy about the story and the "tepid and qualified" retraction/apology/whatever:
But Mr. Whitaker said in an interview later: "We're not retracting anything. We don't know what the ultimate facts are."
In a statement, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said: "Newsweek hid behind anonymous sources, which by their own admission do not withstand scrutiny. Unfortunately, they cannot retract the damage they have done to this nation or those that were viciously attacked by those false allegations."Change the subject to the war on Iraq, and "Newsweek" to "The Bush administration" and the statement becomes much truer.
We talked about how the political process should be inclusive -- and the government is an inclusive government -- and the need for the constitutional writing process to be inclusive.Meanwhile, back home, cat-killer Frist and the other neanderthal Repugs threaten to invoke the "nuclear option," guaranteeing that the Senate becomes exclusive of minority influence.
The Bush administration’s “global war on terrorism” has recorded one of its bloodiest victories yet with the slaughter of several hundred men, women and children in the Uzbekistan city of Andijan.And, by the way, our government "renders" people to Uzbekistan to be tortured.
This brutal massacre was carried out by the regime of President Islam Karimov, one of the Bush administration’s closest allies in Central Asia. His military forces that executed the mass killings have been trained, supplied and aided by the Pentagon.
Citing the testimony of a doctor in the city, the Associated Press reported that 500 bodies have been laid out in front of a local school waiting to be identified by relatives. Another 2,000 people were wounded when the troops opened fire on a mass demonstration in the city’s central square Friday, the doctor reported.
Washington’s concern for “democracy” and the struggle against “tyranny” in the former Soviet Union and internationally extends only to those countries where it seeks to overturn existing regimes and impose new ones committed to US geopolitical aims. In Uzbekistan, it already has a client state. Karimov may be a murderous dictator, the Bush administration reasons, but he’s ours.
This is a regime that imprisons over 6,000 political dissidents, systematically uses torture and has been known to boil its opponents alive. It is among the most corrupt dictatorships on the face of the planet.
Yet from even before the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington and the subsequent war in Afghanistan, it has enjoyed the closest ties with the United States government.
After 9/11, the US Congress granted Karimov’s regime $25 million in loans to buy US weapons and equipment, another $40.5 million in economic and law enforcement aid and $18 million in “anti-terrorism funding.” This aid has increased steadily every year since.
By 2003, the aid had grown to $86 million. The following year, the State Department announced a largely symbolic cut of $18 million based on a 2002 Congressional decision tying aid to Uzbekistan’s human rights record and political reforms. The Karimov regime was non-plussed, and officials said that the funding would find its way to the country in any case on a piecemeal basis.
"I want you to keep focused on what you are doing here," Rice told the diplomats and troops who gathered in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. "This war came to us, not the other way around."Remember, no ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. No Iraqi hijackers. No BS about freedom before the war--only lies about WMD's and terrorism.
"The United States, along with the rest of the free world, believed somehow for a number of years that people in this region didn't care about freedom," she said. "We cared about stability. And what we got was neither. We got a malignancy that was growing that came to haunt us on the fine September day" in 2001.
Why would supposed American ally Israel want to help the insurgency, or at least part of it? Based on the ideas of Oded Yinon, the plan is to break Iraq up into small, unthreatening mini-states. The Israelis are trying to start an Iraqi civil war. To this end, the Israelis are hoping to pin the Americans in Iraq for as long as possible in a vain attempt to prevent this war. The Americans will only pull out when civil war is inevitable, which will be another huge embarrassment for the Pentagon. On top of that, the slow American defeat in Iraq, based on the perfidity of the Israelis in supporting the insurgency and undermining American counterintelligence in Iraq, is gradually destroying the American military (although no one in the Bush Administration will admit it). This effort means the Israelis are effectively currently engaged in war operations against the United States. This undeclared war by the greatest ingrate in the world, Israel - hundreds of billions of dollars in aid from American taxpayers to Israel, and this is the thanks they get! - has made the paleocons furious, and explains why the neocons have been unable to stop the AIPAC investigation.
The idea behind Operation Matador was that this distant part of western Iraq was the new Fallujah, a gathering point for insurgents, so there was a need, according to the colonel in charge of the operation, for “proving that they don’t have any safe havens.” Note the verb: Matador is about proving something rather than accomplishing something. The Marines went to the Ramana region to pee on it to mark their territory; the goal was psychological rather than strictly military. And the proof of this is that, while the military claims to have “neutralized this sanctuary,” they’re not actually planning to occupy the area, and are now in the process of leaving; the insurgents will be back in days. The Marines are claiming victory, but the jihadis are probably claiming the same thing, with at least as much justification.
"Two weeks of intense insurgent violence have made it crystal clear that Iraq's parliamentary elections, hailed in late January as a triumph for democracy, haven't helped to heal the country's deep divisions. They may have made them worse. The historic election sheared off a thin facade of wartime national unity and reinforced ethnic and sectarian tensions that have plagued Iraq for centuries. Iraqis immediately began playing the roles the election results delivered to them: victorious Shiite Muslim, assertive Kurd, disaffected Sunni Arab. Within those groups lies a mosaic of other splits, especially between secularists and Islamists vying for Iraq's soul."Hey! We've got something in common with Iraq! Our elections made things worse, too!
This is torture’s true purpose: to terrorize—not only the people in Guantánamo’s cages and Syria’s isolation cells but also, and more important, the broader community that hears about these abuses. Torture is a machine designed to break the will to resist—the individual prisoner’s will and the collective will.Klein discusses the effects that the threat of arrest, deportation and possible torture have had right here in Ann Arbor:
“Obviously, intelligence agents have an incentive to hide the use of unlawful methods,” says the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer. “On the other hand, when they use rendition and torture as a threat, it’s undeniable that they benefit, in some sense, from the fact that people know that intelligence agents are willing to act unlawfully. They benefit from the fact that people understand the threat and believe it to be credible.”I've met Nazih a few times--a very nice guy with a great sense of humor. He was joking around with Congressman John Dingell at our last anti-war march in March.
And the threats have been received. In an affidavit filed with an ACLU court challenge to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Nazih Hassan, president of the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, Michigan, describes this new climate. Membership and attendance are down, donations are way down, board members have resigned—Hassan says his members fear doing anything that could get their names on lists. One member testified anonymously that he has “stopped speaking out on political and social issues” because he doesn’t want to draw attention to himself.
As it turns out, Mr. Gingrich and Mrs. Clinton have a lot more in common now that they have left behind the politics of the 1990's, when she was a symbol of the liberal excesses of the Clinton White House and he was a fiery spokesman for a resurgent conservative movement in Washington.Right. The "liberal excesses" of the Clinton White House. Welfare "reform." NAFTA and and the WTO, selling out American jobs and sovereignty. The brutal assault at Waco. Bombing Iraq, Sudan, Serbia. The "anti-terrorism" act of 1996, every bit as bad as the Patriot Act. Massive consolidation of the media and corporate America in general. I guess the occasional environmental protection, the appointment of a few people who actually did their jobs instead of the exact opposite, and balancing the budget qualify as "liberal excesses" by today's standards.
Anyone who supports this abominable crime of mass murder and gargantuan theft should go over there.Eli at Left I had suggested that not only the right-wingnuts who supported this insane war from the beginning, but also those supposedly liberal folks who say we can't leave now, should get their own and/or their families' butts down to the recruiting office tomorrow and jump right in to the Mess-o-potamia. To paraphrase our worst president--If you're not against this war then you're for it, and if you're for it you should be over there fighting it.
This war is wrong, first. That alone should be sufficient, but doesn't seem to matter to many.
It is absolutely unwinnable, second. That is something people refuse to accept. Use enough force and you can pacify anyone, they say. Wrong. You cannot force people to your will. You can break them, spindle them, mutilate them, and bury them in mass graves, but you cannot win the war. Period.
When people finally realize this, they will do what they did last time: blame it on the people who told them so.
In passing the Iraq War Supplemental yesterday, the Senate also gave the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to waive any and all law in the course of building roads and barriers along the U.S. borders -- without limit and with no checks and balances. The measure is part of the "REAL ID Act of 2005," the controversial immigration bill attached by the House as a rider to the Iraq war supplemental.It's about 32 miles from here to the closest point on the border with Canada. And Michael Chertoff, our very own Gestapo director, can break any laws he wants in the name of protecting the border.
The consequence of this decision is that Congress has given one man a license to waive any law, for any reason or for no reason at all. Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security, now has the power to simply waive away laws that protect the environment, safeguard public health, ensure consumer and workplace safety, prevent unfair business practices, and ban discrimination -- at his sole and unreviewable discretion.
A second defendant, Ahmed Hannan, recently pleaded guilty in the fraud case and is being deported to Morocco. His lawyer, James Thomas, said he too didn't know about the memos but that it wouldn't change his client's guilty plea.The other man charged will stand trial:
"He took the position he was not going to fight any longer and he pleaded guilty to his role in the fraud," Thomas said.
''We always felt that he did three years (in prison) on a terrorism case that turned out not to be true. And we are preparing to go to trial on this case and I'll be happy when this is behind him, said James Gerometta, a federal defender representing Koubriti."Justice" may not be blind, but it sure is mean.
I am appalled that you and every other senator voted for the $82 billion to continue the quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is NOT supporting the troops--bringing them home immediately is the support they need.
Even worse, the bill contained odious 1984-like provisions leading to a national ID card and deportation of immigrants for the flimsiest of reasons.
Any one of these provisions should have been a deal-killer for this monstrosity. I am truly ashamed of you, the senate, and my country.
Kennedy said "the so-called Real ID immigration provisions" are "highly controversial, harmful and unnecessary."Bush is a bully, Teddy. Stop feeding him money for his wars--that's the most important provision for the soldiers. And if you'd vote against it, there's a chance it might be rewritten as a better bill!
But the legislation still passed with a 100-0 vote.
"While this bill is imperfect, it has many important provisions that our soldiers cannot be denied," Kennedy said.
A bankruptcy judge last night approved United Airlines' request to terminate its pension plans, clearing the way for the largest corporate pension default in history and setting the stage for a possible strike by the airline's flight attendants.Last July, Joseph Kay at the World Socialist Web Site wrote a good article about this mess. The gist of it is that, as usual, the working people are getting screwed while the rich people are getting richer. Because of United's bankruptcy, many of its long-time employees will probably end up trying to file for bankruptcy, only to find out that Congress has closed that door to sub-millionaires.
A legend of sorts in public relations circles, he counted as clients Saddam Hussein of Iraq; Samuel Doe of Liberia; Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania; and Guatemalan businessmen who supported the country's murderous, military-backed government.According to Rigorous Intuition, "the CIA's declassified assassination manual advises that 'the most efficient accident, in simple assassination, is a fall of 75 feet or more onto a hard surface.'"
Von Kloberg expressed no ethical concerns about his work, saying people such as Hussein were U.S. allies at the time.
Chuck Cobb, chairman of Florida FTAA, Inc., which is lobbying to have Miami named as the headquarters of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, called CAFTA approval critical to that effort.Two excellent reasons to oppose it! There is plenty of opposition to CAFTA in Congress; contact your Congresscritters and tell them that NAFTA sucks, CAFTA would suck worse, and FTAA would be a black hole of suckiness.
"There will not be an FTAA and there will not be a headquarters in Miami if CAFTA does not pass," Cobb told the luncheon, which included many supporters of the FTAA effort.
"It's a miracle. It's an image of something ... you can't describe it."Wouldn't the Virgin Mary be a bit insulted to be compared to an underpass stain? Bush's re-selection makes more sense now--we're a nation of idiots.
"I asked her, 'Please help me with school because I'm having my finals,' but I felt like she was like, 'If you can come to me, I'm going to go to you.'"
"If this is something that is going to help someone have faith, then that's great."
"When you come down here -- that's why I wanted to come down here and see for myself -- when you come down here and you see it, it's real." "It is beautiful."
For Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians and many Caucasians and Central Asians, like the Jews, World War II was a Holocaust, given the magnitude of the sheer human sacrifice now estimated to range for the former USSR anywhere from 28-35 million war dead. If Israel can mourn the loss of six million of people without having anyone throwing the ongoing plight of the Palestinians in their face, surely Russia and the Soviet successor states have the right to do the same.
There is no Putin problem. The problem is Bush, whose advisors finally realized that it is easier to divide the EU over anti-Russianism than over Iraq. Dividing the EU over Russia is essential to the global strategy of the Republican Party's increasingly powerful and ever more totalitarian Neo-Conservative-Born-Again Ideologues who openly espouse US-Evangelical domination of the world and its resources in the 21st Century. A unified EU that develops close ties to a democratic Russia would prove a potent obstacle to these plans. The real problem of the world today is to manage America's decline while dealing with an ideologically driven US leadership that lives in a world of fantasy and cannot deal with the rise of China and India much less a real European Union no longer under its political control. We should remember that United States never once criticized Yeltsin's dictatorship.
Naturally, [Bush] tried once again to equate the struggle with fascism with the fight against Al Qaeda, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. Evidently, they’re both about freedom: "The world’s tyrants learned a lesson: There is no power like the power of freedom and no soldier as strong as a soldier who fights for that freedom." Then, to celebrate the power of freedom properly, he went to Russia, whose Red Army killed 3/4 of the Germans killed during World War II, under the leadership of Josef Stalin.
Orlando Bosch, the most prominent face of the violent anti-Castro wing in Florida, said in an interview broadcast on Tuesday in Miami that he had spoken by telephone with Mr. Posada, who, "as everybody knows, is here."(See this post for more on Herr Bosch.
Mr. Bosch, a longtime ally of Mr. Posada's, presented a similar problem for the United States in 1989, when the Justice Department moved to deport him despite resistance from Miami's Cuban-Americans.
The Justice Department called Mr. Bosch "a terrorist, unfettered by laws or human decency, threatening and inflicting violence without regard to the identity of his victims," in the words of Joe D. Whitley, then an associate United States attorney general. Mr. Whitley added: "The United States cannot tolerate the inherent inhumanity of terrorism as a way of settling disputes. Appeasement of those who would use force will only breed more terrorists. We must look on terrorism as a universal evil, even if it is directed toward those with whom we have no political sympathy."
The first Bush administration overruled the deportation in 1990; Mr. Bosch remained in Florida. Mr. Whitley, now general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, declined to comment on the Posada case.
"Look, I fully understand there is a lot of anger and frustration involved in the three Baltics countries about the occupation," Bush said. "I've expressed that to President Putin, but he didn't need me to tell him. He fully understands there's a lot of frustrations and anger about what took place. My hope is that we will be able to move on past that phase of history, the phase that is embracing democracy and free societies."Of course, I'm completely clueless about the frustration and anger of the Palestinians and the Iraqis about those occupations.
"The American people will never forget the occupation and communist oppression of the people of the Baltics," Bush said.It would be interesting to see a poll of Americans on that question. My guess at the results? Haven't forgotten the occupation and communist oppression: 2%. Have forgotten: 5%. What are the Baltics? 93% (including Bush, at least until yesterday).
Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, went further with reporters on Air Force One, saying that the only "true narrative" of World War II is "ours" and that what the Russians "don't like to remember is what they were doing from 1939 to 1941."You mean supporting the Nazis, like Bush's grandfather did, and not just until 1941? You mean occupying other countries on false pretenses against their will? And ours is the only true narrative of WWII? That the war started with Pearl Harbor, and the war in Europe started with D-Day and ended when US troops liberated the concentration camps? (For the record, the war in Asia started in 1937 or even earlier, depending on how you define it, and the war in Europe started in 1939. The biggest concentration camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka were "liberated" by Russian troops, not Americans.) Russians were killed by the millions and their country ravaged by war for three years, and we're the only ones who know about it? (Actually, we're probably about the only ones who don't.)
The more democracies on the border of a country, the more peaceful a country will be.That's from our idiot president.
COLUMBUS, Georgia (AP) -- A high school student was suspended for 10 days for refusing to end a cell phone call with his mother, a soldier serving in Iraq, school officials said.There's not one single good reason that Monique Bates is in Iraq, and there's not one single good reason why her son shouldn't be able to talk to her whenever she gets a chance (which probably isn't often). What the Cheney is wrong with this country???
The 10-day suspension was issued because Kevin Francois was "defiant and disorderly" and was imposed in lieu of an arrest, Spencer High School assistant principal Alfred Parham said.
The confrontation Wednesday began after the 17-year-old junior got a call at lunchtime from his mother, Sgt. 1st Class Monique Bates, who left in January for a one-year tour with the 203rd Forward Support Battalion.
Cell phones are allowed on campus but may not be used during school hours. When a teacher told him to hang up, he refused. He said he told the teacher, "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."
Fighting this campaign has not been an easy task for me, but I had to do it for my son Thomas... who was sent to war under extremely controversial circumstances.I've read several predictions that Bliar will soon be tossed by the Labor Party, which in the parliamentary system is enough to remove him from being prime minister. Let's hope so.
If this war had been justified by international law I would have grieved but not campaigned. If weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, again I would have grieved but not campaigned.
I do not claim to be a professional politician, fighting this campaign has not been an easy task for me but I had to do it for my son, Thomas Keys, Royal military policeman, killed in Iraq four days short of his 21st birthday. Sent to war under extremely controversial circumstances.
Tonight there are lessons to be learnt. I have it in my heart that one day the Prime Minister may be able to say sorry. That one day he will say sorry to the families of the bereaved and one say the Prime Minister might be able to visit wounded soldiers in hospital.
Then our campaign will not be in vain and all the people who have given me their vote tonight have sent a clear and resounding message about the Iraq war. Thank you for all the people that voted for me tonight.
"If Bush gets out of this, he'll be Houdini."-- An unnamed administration official, via the NY Times.
The consulate is on Third Avenue, between 51st and 52nd streets, police said.Police said??? You've got a photographer and reporters, you've got the Internet--why do you have to report the consulate's location as just something alleged by the cops?
The consulate is on the 9th and 10th floors of the building at 845 Third Avenue, between 51st and 52nd streets.Of course, that raises another question about CNN's reporting--their headline states "Blasts at UK Consulate in NYC," not "Blasts at building housing UK Consulate and other offices." While probably the most likely target, given that today is election day in Britain, Mayor Bloomberg's take on it has some merit:
"It is true the British Consulate is in that building, but I don't think anybody should jump to conclusions," Bloomberg told reporters at the scene in midtown Manhattan.These years of blogging have definitely taught me not to trust the media, especially the headlines. CNN was ridiculously cautious about presenting an easily verifiable fact way down in the body of the article, but their headline screams clearly something which isn't exactly right. From the headline, I was picturing a stately mansion with iron gates and stiff guards and a brass plaque, not a multi-use high-rise office building with the consulate offices nine stories up. But I'll bet that the headline version is all that most people will get today.
We can draw no clearer distinction with the President than over this war. He cannot right a wrong (unjustified war) by perpetuating a military occupation. Military victory there is not possible. General Tommy Franks concedes that. The war will end when we say it's over. The Democratic leadership should be pressing for quick withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.
That's what most Democrats want, too. Your performance in the early stages of the primary, and your recent chairmanship of the party, were made possible by many, many progressive and liberal Democrats. It was their hope and expectation that you would prevent the party from repeating its past drift to the Republican-lite center. They hoped that this time the party would not abandon them or its core beliefs again.
Yet you say that you hope the President succeeds. With no pressure exerted from the leadership of the Democratic Party, the past threatens to repeat itself in 2006. We may not leave Iraq or our minority status in Washington for a long time to come.
Franken certainly knows that one of the most insidious forms of prevarication is lying by omission. And on the subject of rapid and total withdrawal from Iraq, that is precisely what Franken and most of the rest of Air America Radio do day in and day out: omit any mention of the topic. Their attitude to grass roots opposition to the war is the same - bury it. And compared to Franken's favorite topics, that is the ones sanctioned by the Democratic establishment, for example, the corrupt practices of Tom DeLay, the war in Iraq which is laying waste an entire country and claiming tens of thousands of lives, takes a back seat--far, far back.Xymphora, in his lengthy discussion of Tony Bliar and the British election, included this sentence:
Air America has turned out to be little more than a mouthpiece for the DNC and one more way to divert the anti-war movement to DNC-approved "issues" like DeLay, Bolton and the other trivia that are like so many straws in the wind compared to the carnage in Iraq.
At its heart the war on Iraq is the most carefully and ingeniously orchestrated propaganda effort on record. In this Franken and his ilk play a key role, going just far enough to maintain credibility among the "liberals" they must reach, while diverting attention from the criminal nature of the war and the option of ending it.
A Conservative victory as a result of Blair's lies would be a disaster for Britain, and it must be noted that the Conservatives were more in favor of war than was Labour (the Conservatives are simply idiots for turning down such a solid gold election issue).Sure sounds familiar! I wonder if the Tories and our Democrats have been sharing notes. It took over two years for 57% of Americans to finally realize that the war was a mistake (putting it very mildly). Sellouts like Franken, Kerry and the Clintons are responsible in very large part. With proper opposition, we might have gotten rid of this festering boil of an administration last November.
In the February 2003 American woodshedding of Goldsmith, he met with no fewer than five Bush Administration lawyers: Alberto Gonzales, then Bush's chief legal adviser; William Taft IV, chief legal adviser to the then Secretary of State Colin Powell; Jim Haynes, chief legal adviser to Donald Rumsfeld; John Bellinger, chief legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice; and then U. S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft. Wow! No wonder he was walking funny when he came back to London. Despite all the free legal advice, he still wasn't able to deliver the clean legal opinion that Blair wanted and the British military insisted upon, which is why he was sent off to be worked over by Lord Falconer and Baroness Morgan (who were then kind enough to write his opinion for him).Here's my guess at how that visit to Washington went:
Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they did not believe it was worth going to war, versus 41 percent who said it was, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,006 adults.I still feel ill when I think of the macho, gung-ho so-called patriotic BS that was spouted by millions back in 2002 and 2003 supporting aWol's crime. And I still feel a bit woozy to think that, after over two years of being proven completely wrong, 41% are still drinking the Kool-Aid. What is the matter with these people?
That was a drop in support from February, when 48 percent said it was worth going to war and half said it was not.
For weeks I’ve been shying away from writing about Shrub’s Social Security reform obsession – not because I don’t think it’s important or haven’t been following it, but because the whole thing seems so damned unreal.Okay, Billmon thought it first, and at greater length, and more coherently. But I didn't know that until AFTER my post.
Surreal might be the better word. I mean, the discussion is rational as long as it’s kept within the framework of the arcane details of federal entitlement policy. But when you pull back and put it in the context of the global financial situation – and the economic train wreck that I think lies just a little further down the tracks – the whole debate starts to seem about as pointless as a bunch of Austro-Hungarian politicians arguing about the future of the Hapsburg monarchy – circa June of 1914.
In other words, once America finally maxes out on its Asian Express Card, and can no longer borrow 80-90% of the world’s available capital flows on concessionary terms, eliminating the Social Security deficit in the year 2041 is going to go from ranking 4th on Brad DeLong’s list of big macroeconomic problems to about 40th. Whether we will even have a Social Security system could be on the table then – a few decades ahead of the GOP schedule.
The LA Times makes it more clear than the NYT that the army being tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan has made it impossible for the Bush administration to get up any more wars, against, say, Iran or Syria. Given the perfect mess they have made of Iraq (and Afghanistan has its problems, too), I'd say it is better for everyone that Bush not have an army to dispose of. And maybe his successor will be less of a warmongerer.Warmongerer?
The strains imposed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made it far more difficult for the U.S. military to beat back new acts of aggression, launch a pre-emptive strike or prevent conflict in another part of the world, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in a classified analysis presented to Congress today."It must prepare." What arrogance. The US military has almost never been used defensively--it is usually off "defending" corporate interests by bombing the crap out of people. The rare chances it has had to actually defend this country it has come up short--Pearl Harbor, 9/11. The only real threats the US faces today are because of its "around the globe" mentality. If we would leave other countries and people in peace, they would leave us in peace. It works for Canada, it works for Sweden--they can afford universal health care because they're not paying for quagmires.
In a sober assessment of the Pentagon's ability to deal with global threats, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers concluded that the American military is at greater risk this year than last year of being unable to properly execute the missions for which it must prepare around the globe.
I kind of doubt that it's true; I'm not sure Rummy is THAT stupid. From a practical standpoint in Iraq, it would just make things worse. I think the insurgency, even the Sunni part, is a lot more about getting the US out than it is about getting Saddam back (or freed into exile). The resistance leaders probably see themselves in charge in the future--not Saddam. And the Shiites would be furious to lose the only good thing they see having come from the invasion.To which I'll add two things: One, Juan Cole doesn't have anything on this, at least yet. And two, I don't think Rummy is THAT stupid, but Bush and Condi are, so maybe they told him to make the offer. Still, it seems like a strategic rumor which was probably placed by the resistance.
And from a domestic standpoint? About the only "success" W can claim is "The brutal tyrant is no longer in power." Adding "He's soaking up the rays and counting his oil-for-food money in Barbados" might not go over very well with W's base (although they seem to have an infinite capacity to rationalize anything he says or does). Of course, it would give President Jeb or Frist his own group of Iraqi exiles to feed him lies about the "mullahs" in Baghdad five years from now.
It seems as though all of these articles are based on one source, which may be simply wrong or else deliberate disinformation, perhaps from the resistance. Like I said, suggesting that the US is going soft on Saddam would lose the occupation whatever little support it currently has in Iraq, so this could be just a clever ploy by the "insurgents."
I'll have to check Juan Cole--he'll probably have a good feel for this.