Sunday, May 21, 2006

I do declare!

The Declaration of Independence Revised, May 21, 2006

In the 9/11, 9/11, 9/11 everything is different now, terror, terror, terror, deficit embracing, offshored jobs, declining healthcare, no safety net, culture of corruption world we live in, this is the new Declaration of Independence.

"When in the Course of corporate events, it becomes necessary for one corporate empowered political leader to dissolve the political bands which have connected people with one another, and to assume the powers of the earth under the auspices of the three branches of government of these United States and the fundamentalist Christian God, it becomes necessary for the people to accept the hegemony of the corporate profit motive as the raison d'etre for the existence of all forms of organic and inorganic matter on this planet.

"CEOs hold these truths to be self evident, corporate executives are created special and separate, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among them are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Wealth Beyond Reason and Imagining. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Corporate leaders, deriving their just powers from the consent and complicity of politically elected, appointed, and compensated facilitators, --That whenever any Form of Governance threatens to destroy these ends, it is the Right of the Corporate Body to alter or to abolish the threat, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and profitability. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should be easily changed by Presidential Orders and Signing Statements; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by this new form of government to which they are already accustomed. And while a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is the right of Corporations, it is their duty, to maintain such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Corporations; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter former Systems of Government. The history of the former democratically inspired presidents, representatives, senators, court justices is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute Tyranny over these Corporations."

Dems: Shed corporate cash

"But unless Democratic office-holders shuck their reliance on corporate cash and return to fighting for working families, says David Sirota, his party will be better off losing.

"The nation’s capital is steeped in corruption, the progressive polemist says, and replacing corrupted Republicans with corrupted Democrats is no solution at all."

Good grief! Don't let morality interfere with profiteering! (Scroll down)

"His [Jim Hightower's] humor is both sharp and refreshing, and he infuses it heavily into his written works, making palatable even the most horrible of subjects. One of my favorite ideas of his is the Candidate Stickers; just like racecar drivers wear patches and stickers showing their sponsors, so should our politicians. Hightower paints a very funny picture of a debate with sticker-covered candidates, the only part that is not so funny is that while we argue party against party, the candidates are wearing the same corporate logos on their 1K suits."

This is from a review of the Jim Hightower book, There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos.

Reports expose myth of upward social mobility in US

"As far as intergenerational mobility is concerned, it is not only the children of the poor in the US who have little chance of becoming wealthy. Children born in the middle quintile (the 40-60th percentile of incomes in the country, $42,000 to $54,300) also have only a 1.8 percent chance of reaching the top five percent, a likelihood not much higher than in poor families. These findings were based on a study of over 4,000 children whose parents’ income was determined in 1968 and whose own income was then reviewed as adults in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999."

Harper's Weekly Review

The show must not go on

"It doesn't matter if it's apologists defending the latest incomprehensible Republican screw-up or Bush's schizophrenic immigration policy. The MO is predictably the same. Some right wing Bozo comes out on a carefully managed stage with a spiel so ridiculous that it would really be more appropriate if presented by a guy pedaling a unicycle and juggling GOP talking points to circus music in full clown regalia, while a mini-Karl Rove chatters around grinding an organ and holding out a cup. It doesn't matter if the clown falls off his unicycle over and over and drops all the talking points. Someone stage right-wing will throw him new talking points to juggle, and he'll just pretend they're the same ones he started with. It doesn't matter if the clown kills a few audience members in the process or sets the big tent on fire. None of that will be mentioned and the reviews will be rave."

Iran, Bush & Nuremberg

"What has been perhaps most mind-boggling about George W. Bush's presidency is its consistent inconsistency on the application of law, both at home and abroad. Bush demands respect for the law from U.S. citizens and lectures foreign countries on the need to abide by international norms, while simultaneously flouting the rules when they apply to him or his administration.

"For instance, Vice President Dick Cheney upbraided Russia for its use of economic power -- i.e. control of energy -- to coerce a neighbor, but Bush goes even beyond economic power, to include military might, to force countries to do what Bush wants, with the unprovoked invasion of Iraq the most notable example, followed now by the implicit threat of an attack against Iran."

Senate hearing on CIA nominee: Democrats rubberstanp Bush police-state spying

"Not one senator, on the Intelligence Committee or off it, will acknowledge the basic truth that the Bush administration is a far greater threat to the democratic rights of the American people than all the terrorists in the world. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda may be capable of terrible crimes, but they cannot impose a totalitarian dictatorship in the United States. That threat comes solely from the American ruling elite and its military-intelligence apparatus."

NSA phone spying program: a blueprint for mass repression

"The press coverage has sought to obscure the vast scale of the data-gathering, as well as the political purposes to which it can be used, in order to lend credence to the Bush administration’s claim that the operation is targeted exclusively at suspected terrorists linked to Al Qaeda. There has not been a single serious media commentary questioning why a supposedly 'narrowly focused' program should collect data on an estimated 225 million Americans. Nor has there been any suggestion that the real purpose of the spy program is to assemble a database on the political affiliations and activities of a wide range of American citizens."

Bowing to the police state

"Is Congress aiding and abetting the creation of a police state? Recently, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., helped to give the CIA and NSA unprecedented police powers. By inserting a provision in the FY07 Intelligence Authorization Act, Hoekstra has undermined the existing statutory limits on involvement in domestic law enforcement. This comes after revelations in January of direct NSA involvement with the Baltimore police in order to 'protect' the NSA Headquarters from Quaker protesters."

US to use lasers on drivers in Iraq

"The pilot project would equip thousands of M-4 rifles with the 10 ½-inch-long weapon, which projects an intense beam of green light to 'dazzle' the vision of oncoming drivers.

"'I think this is going to make a huge difference in avoiding these confrontations,' said Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the commander in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq. 'I promise you no one — no one — will be able to ignore it.'"

Blindness, temporary or otherwise, would get one's attention. Coming to a neighborhood near you.

Nation of suspects in land of the free

"The Bush administration has managed to cross George Orwell with Sting. Every step you take, every move you make, Big Brother will be watching you."

FBI acknowledges: Journalists' phone records are fair game

"The FBI acknowledged late Monday that it is increasingly seeking reporters' phone records in leak investigations.

"'It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration,' said a senior federal official."

FBI tracking reporters' phone calls in CIA leak investigation

"In an interview on the 'Democracy Now!' radio program, Ross commented, 'It was clear to us that somehow the government knew our records. We were told our phone calls weren’t being recorded, but just who we were calling. Now, in terms of trying to track down insiders at the government who are providing us with information, that’s really about all they need.' Ross added that the FBI had acknowledged they were tracking journalists’ phone calls. 'The person I talked to said, ‘Well, it may be more like backtracking.’ But under this administration, what used to be hard to do, in going after reporters and their phone records, is now easy.'"

Secret gov't source tells ABC News: 'Get new cellphones'

"'It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,' the source told us in an in-person conversation.

"ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls."

New presidential memorandum permits intelligence director to authorize telcos to lie without violating securities law

"Ordinarily, a company that conceals their transactions and activities from the public would violate securities law. But an presidential memorandum signed by the President on May 5 allows the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to authorize a company to conceal activities related to national security. (See 15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(3)(A))"

John Negroponte and the Latin Americanization of US politics

"Negroponte was nominated as DNI in February 2005. While the post was created in response to a recommendation from the panel set up to investigate the September 11 attacks, the real purpose of the position is to step up attacks on democratic rights and prepare for repressive measures against the American people.

"It was for this reason the Negroponte was selected. One of his main qualifications was his role as US Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985. In that position, he helped oversee the American intervention in support of the 'contras,' who were waging a vicious war against the nationalist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. During the course of the CIA-funded war, 50,000 people died and the right-wing contras employed brutal methods of disappearances, torture and mass killings."

Negroponte had denied domestic call monitoring

"When he was asked about the National Security Agency's controversial domestic surveillance program last Monday, U.S. intelligence chief John D. Negroponte objected to the question and said the government was 'absolutely not' monitoring domestic calls without warrants.

"'I wouldn't call it domestic spying,' he told reporters. 'This is about international terrorism and telephone calls between people thought to be working for international terrorism and people here in the United States.'"

Verizon denies giving NSA phone records

"Verizon Communications Inc. says it did not give the government records of millions of phone calls, joining fellow phone company BellSouth in disputing key assertions in a USA Today article."

Bush's 'Big Brother' blunder

"George W. Bush’s warrantless phone data collection may not only violate the U.S. Constitution but expend so much money and manpower that America is made less safe – by diverting resources away from more practical steps, like inspecting cargo and hiring translators."

Big Brother Inc. tries to fool Randi Rhodes -- and that's not nice

"I smell mendacity! The sticky-sweet Atlanta drawl of the PR flack for America's private KGB was dancing in rhetorical circles with Randi Rhodes, Air American, broadcast yesterday.. Unfortunately for the Bush-friendly Spies-R-Us contractor, Randi also has a keen nose for the telltale scent of pure bullshit.

"By 'private KGB,' I mean ChoicePoint, Inc., the Atlanta company that keeps over 16 billion records on Americans which it sells to the FBI, Homeland Security and, through a bit of a slip-up, identity thieves."

Dixie Chicks, Valerie Plame & Bush

"Certainly, no one who truly cares about democracy favors punishing critics and demonizing dissenters. But just such hostility has been the calling card of George W. Bush and his backers over the past five years as they have subjected public critics to vilification, ridicule and retaliation.

"While Bush doesn’t always join personally in the attack-dog operations, he has a remarkable record of never calling off the dogs, letting his surrogates inflict the damage while he winks his approval. In some cases, however, such as the punishment of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame, Bush has actually gotten his hands dirty. [See below.]"

Study guide for US citizenship test omits freedom of press

"But the $8.50 flashcards — which contain questions and answers from the actual citizenship exam — won't help immigrants learn much about the role of the press in American democracy.
"Question 80 asks, 'Name one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.' The answer lists freedom of speech, religion, assembly and the right to petition the government — but omits freedom of the press."

Supreme Court officially emasculates taxpayers

"In a unanimous decision Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a lower court ruling that would have invalidated massive taxpayer giveaways to Corporate America. The Supreme Court has long been the victim of a hostile takeover by Big Money interests. It is a court now headed by a corporate lawyer that has repeatedly gone out of its way to protect Corporate America's ability to bleed the middle class dry. Today's ruling, though, is particularly egregious. Not only did the court strike down an important ruling, but it essentially emasculated taxpayers' ability to bring any such lawsuits against their own government in the future."

Despite pledges, taxes increase for teenagers

"The $69 billion tax cut bill that President Bush signed this week tripled tax rates for teenagers with college savings funds, despite Mr. Bush's 1999 pledge to veto any tax increase.
"Under the new law, teenagers age 14 to 17 with investment income will now be taxed at the same rate as their parents, not at their own rates. Long-term capital gains and dividends that had been taxed at 5 percent will now be taxed at 15 percent. Interest that had been taxed at 10 percent will now be taxed at as much as 35 percent."

The scariest predators in the corporate jungle

"The world's oil, gas and mining industries account for nearly two-thirds of all violations of human rights, environmental laws and international labor standards, according to a soon-to-be-released United Nations study."

The great oil race: Cheney discovers US is losing out to China

"Mr. Cheney was recently sent to Central Asia and other regions to coax allies to significantly increase supplies to stabilize U.S. gasoline prices for the summer. Administration sources said Mr. Cheney has run into significant difficulties as he has found that many of the potential suppliers have become committed to China."

Iraq, Iran and the end of the petrodollar: The waning influence of the USA in the Asian century

"Since 20 September 2002, the US government has abandoned its former multilateral approach to global affairs, and adopted an imperial posture known as the so-called Bush doctrine.
"This new agenda is based on militarist and imperial values with some theocratic overtones. This agenda looks much like what some people see in US foreign policy at the end of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th, when the US actively sought to dominate the entire Caribbean basin, Central America and even the western Pacific."

Covey is right, you can't operate effectively independently in an interdependent world.

Deja vu - the for weapons of mass destruction this time in Iran

"Whether an attack on Iran comes, by US cruise missiles or B2s or Israeli warplanes carrying US-supplied bunker busters to penetrate deep into the earth to cripple Iran's fledging subterranean nuclear power industry, the main forces that drive the US to war will be the same as those that compelled the US, with Britain and other allies, to attack Iraq. Similar to the war against Iraq, possible military operations against Iran have very little to do with the Iranian regime's imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction, and they are not even only about oil. They are essentially about the political control of oil supplies on terms favourable to the US. Here 'political control' means not only controlling access to oil - America has large oil reserves and diversified sources from abroad - but ensuring that oil is priced in dollars."

Is the Bush administration planning a nuclear holocaust? Will the US launch "mini-nukes" against Iran in retaliation for Tehran's "non-compliance"?

"All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as "a weapon of last resort" have been scrapped. 'Offensive' military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of 'self-defense'.

"The distinction between tactical nuclear weapons and the conventional battlefield arsenal has been blurred. America's new nuclear doctrine is based on 'a mix of strike capabilities'. The latter, which specifically applies to the Pentagon's planned aerial bombing of Iran, envisages the use of nukes in combination with conventional weapons."

House panel boosts Bush plan to build new nuclear warheads: Many arms control experts say idea is a huge waste of money

"A congressional committee took major steps this week toward financing the Bush administration's controversial program to build new generations of nuclear warheads, roughly doubling the budget for the design of the new weapons while reducing the money for maintaining the old stockpile."

Venezuela 'may swap oil currency': Venezuela has hinted it could price its oil exports in euros rather than US dollars, further weakening its links to the US.

"President Hugo Chavez said he was considering taking the step following a similar declaration by Iran."

Bush bans arms sales to Chavez

"Janelle Hironimus, a state department spokeswoman, said Venezuela had forged close relations with Iran and Cuba, both classified by the US as state sponsors of terrorism. She said: 'Venezuela has publicly championed the Iraqi insurgency.'"

US administration slams door on negotiations with Iran

"The US stance highlights the absurdity of President Bush’s declaration, repeated last Tuesday, that his administration is engaged in 'diplomacy' as "the first and most important option" to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programs. As far as the political gangsters in the White House are concerned, 'diplomacy' consists of issuing ultimatums, backed by the threat of war, and bullying opponents and allies alike into acceding to US demands."

International poll shows world is turning against Americans, not just president Bush

"In the past, while Europeans, Asians and Arabs might have disliked American policies or specific U.S. leaders, they liked and admired Americans themselves. Polls now show an ominous turn. Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest."

"Heh, heh, I'm a uniter!"

Bush turns to big military contractors for border control

"Through its Secure Border Initiative, the Bush administration intends to not simply buy an amalgam of high-tech equipment to help it patrol the borders — a tactic it has also already tried, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, with extremely limited success. It is also asking the contractors to devise and build a whole new border strategy that ties together the personnel, technology and physical barriers."

I guess Halliburton, et al, aren't stretched so thin in Iraq that they can't make billions back home as well.

Bush urged to give Putin the cold shoulder

"Dick Cheney, the US vice- president, is said to be leading the Washington charge for a tougher line towards Russia - as seen in his broadside launched from Lithuania when he accused Mr Putin of backsliding on democracy and using oil and gas for blackmail and intimidation."

The disappearing US dollar

"So far, the decline has been more or less orderly. But if it were to gain speed, the consequences for the U.S. economy could be grave. Rising import prices would fuel inflation, which in turn would drive up interest rates. This could then provoke a recession, with painful effects for the world economy.

"Moreover, there may be more to this story than a mere decline in the U.S. dollar. While the yen and euro are strengthening against the greenback, the real story appears to be that virtually all currencies are weakening against 'real assets,' and especially commodities. Oil is surging, metals have gone off the charts: all over the world, investors appear to be abandoning 'paper' assets for what is tangible, and thus apparently more secure."

Budget cut would shutter EPA libraries

"The $2 million cut sought by the White House would reduce the 35-year-old EPA Library Network's budget by 80 percent and force many of its 10 regional libraries to close, according to the advocates and internal agency documents."

US housing starts fell 7.4% in April to 1.1849 million rate
"Builders in the U.S. broke ground on the fewest homes since November 2004 as higher borrowing costs eroded demand, a government report showed."

Pension deficit, now $500 billion, may clobber corporate bonds

"Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Eastman Kodak Co., TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. and hundreds more companies delinquent in contributing to pensions will have to disclose more information about retirement funds and health-care costs in financial statements later this year, accounting rulemakers say. Congress is debating a new law that would force them to start plugging the gaps in their pension plans."

Quotes from www.bartcop:

"If you want to leave, good riddance." -- Arlen Specter (R-PA), to Russ Feingold as he walked out of a bogus hearing on gay marriage,Link

"Our polling tells us people don't car much about the cost of gasoline..." -- Johan Goldberg on Larry King, speaking for the GOP

"Having said that, I don’t want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on... -- Tony Snow, nervous at his first press briefing, Link

"The next six months in Iraq - which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there - are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time." -- New York Times foreign affairs (and Bush whore) columnist Tom Friedman,11/03/03, Link

"What we're gonna find out...in the next six to nine months is whether we have liberated a country or uncorked a civil war." -- New York Times foreign affairs (and Bush whore) columnist Tom Friedman,10/03/04, Link

"I think the next six months really are going to determine whether this country is going to collapse into three parts or more or whether it's going to come together." -- New York Times foreign affairs (and Bush whore) columnist Tom Friedman,12/18/05, Link

"We're going to find out...in the next year to six months - if a decent outcome is possible there.." -- New York Times foreign affairs (and Bush whore) columnist Tom Friedman,05/16/06, Link

"The expression tar baby is...used occasionally as a derogatory term for black people (in the U.S. it refers to African-Americans; in New Zealand it refers to Maoris), or among blacks as a term for a particularly dark-skinned person. As a result, some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context." -- Word of the Day, Link

"What Mr Snow meant to say was he 'didn’t want to chase that Sambo.'" -- Boy Genius, Link

"When I was little we always lived in diverse neighborhoods. My grandfather would call my black friends "tar babies." I didn’t know any version of any definition of "tar baby," but I knew what he meant, and he wasn’t being a kindly old grandpa. He was an old racist cracker who thought he was being clever." -- Zookeeper, Link

"We're a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws." -- The most crooked US president in history, Monday Link

"While America is a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws, and rewarding those who break our laws not only dishonors the hard work of those who came here legally but does nothing to fix our current situation." -- Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., furious with Bush for rewarding lawbreakers, Link

"Had he not done this, and something had happened, you and the rest of the world would be clamoring." -- Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., praising Bush for breaking the law with wiretaps Link

"Now that we know that Bush has been tracking every phone call made by every person in the United States, or at least those made by ATT&T and Verizon customers it makes you wonder what's next?

"Have Microsoft and Apple collaborated with the NSA to plant spy software into Windows or Apple OS-X? Are they tracking everything we do online? That would be the next logical step in the progression of illegal spying.

"So I would ask Apple and Microsoft, hopefully before the fact, if they intend to cooperate with the NSA to illegally tap our computers?"
--Marc Perkel

"I don't really believe those polls. As I travel around, I see a lot of appreciation for my husband. -- Pickles, lying to herself, Link

"The polls I believe are the polls that get run through the RNC. The American people like this president, ...they respect him." -- Karl Rove, Link Karl, your job is lying to others - not yourself.

"Every time this administration screws up, whether it's homeland security, Katrina, the border, illegal surveillance of Americans, they say, well, but 9/11, 9/11. Well, I'd remind them 9/11 happened on their watch." -- Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-Rubberstamp) talking like he has a pair, Link

"AT&T has a long history of vigorously protecting consumer pribacy. Our customers expect and deserve nothing less than our fullest commitment to their privacy...but..." -- AT&T, caving in to Bush,

"USA Today better hire good lawyers. Remember that Bush has vowed to use espionage statutes to prosecute reporters who report on leaked "national security" issues. Spying on citizens and prosecuting reporters -- that's so Soviet." -- Joe Sudbay, Link

"Clinton prosecutor Robert Ray has been charged with stalking an ex-girlfriend. Now, if they would only find Ken Starr in a hot-tub with a naked boy..." -- Maru, Link

"I'm not sure what I'm going to read next. I've got a choice of a history of Afghanistan or there's an interesting book on Timbuktu." -- President Stupid and Crooked, who has Condi read to him, Link

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." -- H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) who never even knew who Der Monkey was

"In 2005, the top ten oil companies spent $33 million lobbying Congress and the Bush administration." -- Think Progress, Link

And Exxon-Mobil, all by themselves, made $36 billion in profit. That's over 1,000 times more than the bribe money they gave out....

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