Picks Commentary

Sunday, September 24, 2006

We Are the Torturers

We are the Torturers

We have no clues
Time after time
We've done our penance
But committed no crime

And bad mistakes
We've made a few
We've had some bad press thrown in our faces
But we've come through

We are the torturers my friends
And we'll keep on torturing till the end
We are the torturers
We are the torturers
No time for losers
cause we are the torturers of the world

We've taken our bows
and made curtain calls
You brought us fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it's no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
We consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And we ain't gonna lose

We are the torturers my friends
And we'll keep on torturing till the end
We are the torturers
We are the torturers
No time for losers
cause we are the torturers of the world.

Picks of the Week:

Chavez address to the United Nations

"The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time, [flips through the pages, which are numerous] I will just leave it as a recommendation."

Hugo Chavez: An exclusive interview with Greg Palast

"The Gulf potentates understand that in return for lending the U.S. Treasury the cash to fund George Bush’s $2 trillion rise in the nation’s debt, they receive protection in return. They lend us petro-dollars, we lend them the 82nd Airborne.

"Chavez would put an end to all that. He’ll sell us oil relatively cheaply — but intends to keep the petro-dollars in Latin America. Recently, Chavez withdrew $20 billion from the U.S. Federal Reserve and, at the same time, lent or committed a like sum to Argentina, Ecuador, and other Latin American nations."

Chavez says Bush 'alcoholic' and 'sick man'

"'He walks like John Wayne,' declared the left-wing Venezuelan leader. 'He doesn't know anything about politics, he got there because of Daddy.' Bush's father, George Bush, was also a US president."

Chavez to double energy subsidies to needy in US

"A day after he called President Bush "the devil" from the podium at the United Nations, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stood at the altar of a Harlem church and presented himself as an angel, offering 100 million gallons of subsidized heating oil to needy Americans."

Neil Cavuto says poor Americans who accept heating oil from Hug Chavez are committing treason

"Neil Cavuto was livid and about to burst a blood vessel today (September 21, 2006) over Hugo Chavez's plan to sell heating oil at discount prices to low income residents of New York City. (Chavez also plans to donate 100 gallons of heating oil to 12,000 rural Alaskans, which, curiously, Cavuto didn't mention.) Avoiding obvious questions like why U.S. oil companies don't donate oil to our poor, or why it is that people in this country can't afford to heat their homes, Cavuto, wearing an American flag on his lapel, instead targeted his fellow citizens and insinuated that they are committing treason for accepting Chavez's offer."

The globalization excuse

"Put another way: Citizen earnings are at historic lows, while corporate earnings are way, way up.

"To rationalize this lopsided state of affairs, the 'global economy' is often blamed. We often hear that in an increasingly integrated world economy, American workers must accept lower wages, fewer benefits and less job security in order to compete with China, India or other developing countries. But what we don’t often hear is that the costs and benefits of globalization represent concrete political choices, not economic inevitability. Many countries—and some American states—have successfully combined international competitiveness with decent living standards for their workers. On the other hand, some places that have cut wages and benefits have not only failed to become more competitive in the international market, but have suffered adverse social and political consequences."

Chavez: US detained foreign minister

"Maduro told CNN Espanol shortly after being released that he was confined to a small room and told to remove his clothes.

"Maduro said that when he explained that he was the Venezuelan foreign minister and showed his diplomatic passport, he said he was threatened, pushed and yelled at by immigration and police officials."

US government apologizes for incident with Venezuelan foreign minister

"The US government has called regrettable an incident with Venezuelan foreign minister and apologized to the official Caracas, Ekho Moskvy reports. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the detention in the New York airport another provocation by George Bush. In his televised interview the Venezuelan president announced: 'They detained him and accused of taking part in terror attacks here on February 4, which is absolutely untrue.'

"It is worth reminding, Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro was detained by US migration service officials, when he was flying home by a regular flight after the UN General Assembly. The foreign minister says that he showed his diplomatic passport, but was rudely caught by two policemen. They seized his computer and documents."

Washington threatens wider Middle East war: A belligerent Bush addresses the UN

"The dominant message in the speech was contained in the implicit threats made against Syria and Iran that they could soon face the same fate as Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Such are the traditions of UN diplomacy—and the spinelessness of the world’s governments—that the body’s delegates politely applauded as Bush absurdly postured as the liberator of the Arab masses. His government’s policies of unprovoked aggression, military occupation and torture stand in direct violation of the UN charter and constitute war crimes for which he and other top US officials deserve to stand trial."

CIA 'refused to operate' secret jails

"The Bush administration had to empty its secret prisons and transfer terror suspects to the military-run detention centre at Guantánamo this month in part because CIA interrogators had refused to carry out further interrogations and run the secret facilities, according to former CIA officials and people close to the programme."

US war prisons legal vacuum for 14,000

"In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law."

But what the hell, I'm sure they are all guilty of some dastardly deed . . . or thought. Torture them all. Oops, we've already done that. And we will continue to do that. Remember when this would have been . . . oh, I don't know . . . unAmerican? I guess if we don't torture them over there we'll have totorture them over here.

As Army adds interrogators [torturers], it outsources training

"Since the Iraq war began, the U.S. Army has quadrupled the number of soldiers it trains each year to be detainee interrogators, according to Army officials involved in the program.

"Next year, 1,200 interrogators are set to be trained at the Army Intelligence Center at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., up from about 300 in 2003. "The number being trained is based on the current need of interrogators in theater," said Angela Moncur, deputy public affairs officer at the intelligence center."

A tortured debate

"A debate on torture. I don't know -- what do you think? I guess we have to define it, first. The White House has already specified 'water boarding,' making some guy think he's drowning for long periods, as a perfectly good interrogation technique. Maybe, but it was also a great favorite of the Gestapo and has been described and condemned in thousands of memoirs and novels in highly unpleasant terms.

"I don't think we can give it a good name again, and I personally kind of don't like being identified with the Gestapo. How icky. (Somewhere inside me, a small voice is shrieking, 'Are you insane?')"

Islamo-fascism? Maybe Americano-fascism is more to the point.

Senate-White House compromise sanctions CIA torture of detainees

"The Bush administration and Republican senators agreed Wednesday night on legislation that sanctions secret CIA prisons and permits abusive interrogation methods that violate the Geneva Conventions and other international and domestic anti-torture statutes.

"The bill also gives congressional approval for military commissions that strip Guantánamo detainees of basic due process rights, while denying them the elementary right to seek redress from arbitrary imprisonment through the filing of habeas corpus suits in US courts."

Control the dictionary, control the world

"Under the leadership of Alberto Gonzales and other lawyers -- mainly from the White House, Rumsfeld's office, and Cheney's office -- the Bush Administration went through all sorts of moral gyrations and emerged with new definitions of what constituted torture. Basically, it's not torture if it doesn't kill you or if the excruciating pain and injuries don't lead to organ failure."

So that's clarifying what is meant by US torture in Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions.

Bill Clinton warns against wide torture approval

"Former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined a chorus of critics of Bush administration proposals for treating suspected terrorists, saying it would be unnecessary and wrong to give broad approval to torture.

"In an interview with National Public Radio aired on Thursday, Clinton said any decision to use harsh treatment in interrogating suspects should be subject to court review."

A bad bargain

"Here is a way to measure how seriously President Bush was willing to compromise on the military tribunals bill: Less than an hour after an agreement was announced yesterday with three leading Republican senators, the White House was already laying a path to wiggle out of its one real concession."

UN rights envoys condemn Bush plan on interrogation [torture]

"United Nations human rights investigators said on Thursday that legislation proposed by President Bush for tough interrogations of foreign terrorism suspects would breach the Geneva Conventions.

"In a statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the five independent envoys also said Washington's admission of secret detention centres abroad pointed to 'very serious human rights violations in relation to the hunt for alleged terrorists'."

Bush shields dad on Chile terrorism

"By frustrating the Chilean investigation, the Bush administration also is protecting former President George H.W. Bush against possibly being implicated in this act of terrorism, conceivably as an accessory after the fact for diverting suspicion away from Pinochet."

Renouncing Bush's failure is a start: The president's onetime lapdogs should also rethink the extremist ideology that got us here.

"Perhaps he is not a conservative at all but a deficit-mongering big-government advocate, a world-changing radical in disguise and a cultivator of global anti-Americanism. Perhaps, from Baghdad to Kabul to New Orleans, bungling is not the exception but the rule because he and his inner circle hold planning, the law, diplomacy and even reason in contempt."

Bush owes us an apology

"The President of the United States owes this country an apology.

"It will not be offered, of course.

"He does not realize its necessity.

"There are now none around him who would tell him or could."

Torture is torture: Bush's 'program' disgraces all Americans

"It's past time to stop mincing words. The Decider, or maybe we should now call him the Inquisitor, sticks to anodyne euphemisms. He speaks of 'alternative' questioning techniques, and his umbrella term for the whole shop of horrors is 'the program.' Of course, he won't fully detail the methods that were used in the secret CIA prisons -- and who knows where else? -- but various sources have said they have included not just the infamous 'waterboarding,' which the administration apparently will reluctantly forswear, but also sleep deprivation, exposure to cold, bombardment with ear-splitting noise and other assaults that cause not just mental duress but physical agony. That is torture, and to call it anything else is a lie."

One has to care to feel disgraced.

Bush's 'dirty war' amnesty law

"The United States is following the lead of 'dirty war' nations, such as Argentina and Chile, in enacting what amounts to an amnesty law protecting U.S. government operatives, apparently up to and including President George W. Bush, who have committed or are responsible for human rights crimes.

"While the focus of the current congressional debate has been on Bush’s demands to redefine torture and to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, the compromise legislation also would block prosecutions for violations already committed during the five-year-old 'war on terror.'"

Bill changed to allow warrantless wiretapping on Americans when attack 'imminent'

"Under the measure, the administration would be required to share more details of the nature of the threat with the House and Senate leaders and the chairmen of both intelligence committees, who then would decide without administration input which lawmakers would receive the classified information."

Since were in a state of perpetual war against a nebulous enemy, all the Evil Moron has to do is talk about "chatter" and raise the rainbow coding system to magenta.

A "power station of espionage" in the shade of Italia Telecom

"Carlo de Benedetti, Calisto Tanzi, Diego Della Valle, the Benetton family… Almost all the gotha economic Italian was under control, like some politicians, of the journalists and the sportsmen. At the end of two years of investigation, the parquet floor of Milan ordered, Wednesday, the arrest of 21 people, several of them former leaders of Italia Telecom. 'A the shade' of the principal group of telecommunication of the country, 'saw the day a power station of espionage without precedent in the history of our country', worried yesterday the director about the daily newspaper Repubblica, Ezio Mauro, in a leading article titrated 'Attack against the democracy'."

The common denominator in the global trending toward fascism is corporate hegemony.

Torture in Iraq worse now than under Saddam?

"Reports from Iraq indicate that torture 'is totally out of hand,' he said. 'The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.'"

Just a speed bump on the road to democracy.

Judge, jury, and torturer

"'TRUST US. You're guilty. We're going to execute you, but we can't tell you why.' That is how Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, characterized the Bush administration's recent proposal for a draconian new trial system to deal with accused terrorists. The plan includes a reinterpretation of prisoner protections guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions. Graham was joined in opposition last week by other Republicans, including Colin Powell. Remarkably , lawyers in the Pentagon also raised objections. But the White House argument is straightforward: terrorists are such a mortal threat that established due process must be suspended. In particular, the classified secrets of anti terrorist operations must be so closely held that the most basic pillar of jurisprudence -- the accused's right to know and respond to evidence -- must be discarded. The legislation was drafted by Franz Kafka."

The Kafkaesque nature of the US war on terror was evident in Bill "Dr. Mengele" Frist's appearance on Stephanopolous' show Sunday. When pressed, Frist refused to divulge what specific torture would be allowed. Such classified information, First said, would enable the torture victims to adapt to the torture. So, I guess the victims would practice breathing techniques that would thwart waterboarding, for example. Maybe a highly trained terrorist could learn to breathe through his/her butt. And I wonder, instead of pulling out all the finger nails, perhaps BushCo has devised a coding system much like the vaunted terrorism threat warning system. Maybe they'd just pull out every other finger nail if the victim was coded as "Yellow - of questionable value as a terror threat." Sadism is on the march in 'Merica.

US threatened to bomb Pakistan, Musharraf says

"Musharraf said the intelligence chief quoted Armitage as saying, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.'"It was insulting, Musharraf said. 'I think it was a very rude remark.'"

Downright ungentlemanly and in total violation of the ground rules laid out in The Dictator's Guide to Coalition Building.

Facing facts on Iraq

"While Iraq is a central issue in this year’s election campaigns, there is very little clear talk about what to do, beyond vague recommendations for staying the course or long-term timetables for withdrawal. That is because politicians running for election want to deliver good news, and there is nothing about Iraq — including withdrawal scenarios — that is anything but ominous.

"In the real Iraq, armed Shiite and Kurdish parties have divided up the eastern two-thirds of the country, leaving Sunni insurgents and American marines to fight over the rest. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki and his “national unity cabinet” stretch out their arms to like-thinking allies like Iran and Hezbollah, but barely lift a finger to rein in the sectarian militias and death squads spreading terror across Baghdad and the Shiite south."

Civilian deaths soar to record high in Iraq

"Nearly 7,000 civilians were killed in Iraq in the past two months, according to a UN report just released - a record high that is far greater than initial estimates had suggested. As American generals in Baghdad warned that the violence could worsen in the run up to Ramadan next Monday, the UN spoke of a 'grave sectarian crisis' gripping the country."

Spy agencies say Iraq war worsens terror threat

"A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks."

There is no war on terror

"Part of what follows is derived from a series of some two dozen interviews I conducted over the summer with leading U.S. counterterrorism officials, many of whom served in top posts during the Bush administration. Not all of them agree with each other, nor with all of my conclusions, which can be found in the Sept. 21 issue of Rolling Stone . But most of them served on the front lines of the so-called 'war on terror.' If U.S. counterterrorism efforts were run by these officials, instead of Bush and Cheney, those efforts would look radically different than they do today.

"I. The threat of terrorism is wildly exaggerated.

"A strong and convincing case that the al-Qaida bogeyman is inflated far beyond the real but limited threat that it poses is made in the current issue of Foreign Affairs , in an article by political scientist John Mueller. He and others argue persuasively that the reason the United States has not been attacked since 9/11 is that terrorists are far less powerful than the White House claims. 'If al Qaeda operatives are as determined and inventive as assumed, they should be here by now. If they are not yet here, they must not be trying very hard or must be far less dedicated, diabolical, and competent than the common image would suggest,' writes Mueller. Why haven’t the Democrats picked up this argument?"

List of accusations of GIs in Iraq stuns experts

"The accounts are brutal: An Iraqi man dragged from his home, executed and made to look as if he were an insurgent. Three prisoners killed by their Army captors. A team of revenge-seeking Marines going home to home, shooting down unarmed Iraqi men, women, children.

"The recent flurry of accusations against U.S. servicemen has stunned military analysts and experts. Many see a critical new point in the war — though few agree whether it shows the toll of combat stress, commanders resolved to stamp out war crimes, or, as some claim, an overzealous second-guessing of the troops."

UN chief warns of Iraq civil war

"UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned that Iraq is in danger of sliding into 'full-scale civil war'.

"He called for urgent action from Iraqi leaders and the international community to bring Iraq back from the brink."

No one dares to help

"As I took a right turn on Munadhama Street, I saw a man lying on the ground in a small pool of blood. He wasn't dead."The idea of stopping to help or to take him to a hospital crossed my mind, but I didn't dare. Cars passed without stopping. Pedestrians and shop owners kept doing what they were doing, pretending nothing had happened."

The good news is that his flifeless inger was still stained purple.

Who benefits from the Afghan opium trade?

"The UN estimates that for 2006, the contribution of the drug trade to the Afghan economy is of the order of 2.7 billion. What it fails to mention is the fact that more than 95 percent of the revenues generated by this lucrative contraband accrues to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions. A very small percentage accrues to farmers and traders in the producing country." . . . .

"Afghanistan and Colombia are the largest drug producing economies in the world, which feed a flourishing criminal economy. These countries are heavily militarized. The drug trade is protected. Amply documented the CIA has played a central role in the development of both the Latin American and Asian drug triangles.

"The IMF estimated global money laundering to be between 590 billion and 1.5 trillion dollars a year, representing 2-5 percent of global GDP. (Asian Banker, 15 August 2003). A large share of global money laundering as estimated by the IMF is linked to the trade in narcotics."

Karzai (former CIA operative) was on CNN Sunday extolling the virtues of his government's anti-opium program. BushCo has a long history of profiting from narcotics.

The Bushes & the truth about Iran

"Over the next few years, the Republican-Israel-Iran weapons pipeline operated mostly in secret, only exploding into public view with the Iran-Contra scandal in late 1986. Even then, the Reagan-Bush team was able to limit congressional and other investigations, keeping the full history – and the 1980 chapter – hidden from the American people.

"Upon taking office on Jan. 20, 2001, George W. Bush walled up the history even more by issuing an executive order blocking the scheduled declassification of records from the Reagan-Bush years. After 9/11, the younger George Bush added more bricks to the wall by giving Presidents, Vice Presidents and their heirs power over releasing documents."

The Bush Crime Family could very well be sulfurous. It certainly is full of bad eggs.

Falwell says faithful fear Clinton more then Devil: The evangelical leader tells a conference that the New York senator will mobilize his base like no one else if she runs for president.

"Nothing will motivate conservative evangelical Christians to vote Republican in the 2008 presidential election more than a Democratic nominee named Hillary Rodham Clinton — not even a run by the devil himself."

All the insite about Bush's base you'll ever need.

Pressures mount on Bush to bomb Iran

"President George W Bush is coming under enormous pressure from Israel - and from Israel's neoconservative friends inside and outside the US administration - to harden still further his stance toward Iran. They want the American president to commit himself to bombing Iran if it does not give up its program of uranium enrichment."

Election dysfunction

"9. Amend the US Constitution to ensure an affirmative right to vote

"One hundred and eight democratic nations in the world have explicit language guaranteeing the right to vote in their constitutions, and the United States -- along with only ten other such nations -- does not. As a result, the way we administer elections in this country changes from state to state, from county to county, from locality to locality. The Secretary of the Commonwealth must fight for a constitutional amendment that affirmatively guarantees the right to vote in the US Constitution."

Will the next election be hacked?

"In Tarrant County, Texas, electronic machines counted some ballots as many as six times, recording 100,000 more votes than were actually cast. In San Diego, poll workers took machines home for unsupervised 'sleepovers' before the vote, leaving the equipment vulnerable to tampering. And in Ohio - where, as I recently reported in 'Was the 2004 Election Stolen?' [RS 1002], dirty tricks may have cost John Kerry the presidency - a government report uncovered large and unexplained discrepancies in vote totals recorded by machines in Cuyahoga County."

Let's put it this way, if the GOP doesn't maintain power, people will start going to prison. Will the Americano-fascist party attempt to hack another election? Yes.

"Hotel Minibar" keys open Diebold voting machines

"Like other computer scientists who have studied Diebold voting machines, we were surprised at the apparent carelessness of Diebold’s security design. It can be hard to convey this to nonexperts, because the examples are technical. To security practitioners, the use of a fixed, unchangeable encryption key and the blind acceptance of every software update offered on removable storage are rookie mistakes; but nonexperts have trouble appreciating this. Here is an example that anybody, expert or not, can appreciate:

"The access panel door on a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine — the door that protects the memory card that stores the votes, and is the main barrier to the injection of a virus — can be opened with a standard key that is widely available on the Internet."

Wave of party switchers hits Republicans

"Some recent switchers are exiting GOP ranks with a bang. Distorted priorities, the federal deficit and the Iraq war are common themes in their announcements. And in a direct swipe at the far-right ideology that has become a governing credo in the Bush years, they cite intolerance in the party as the chief reason for leaving."

Question is, will these switchers offset the voting machine vote switchers?

Mexico's uncertainty grows with 'parallel' government

"The uncertainty over Mexico's political future has taken a new twist after supporters of the defeated presidential candidate elected him to lead a 'parallel' government that will spend the next six years opposing the man who won the election."

Interesting idea. Since the majority of voters in the US have been disenfranchised by two fraudulent elections. What about forming a parallel government?

US health care system falling behind

"The nation’s youngest and oldest citizens are suffering the most from a fragmented, wasteful and in some cases dangerous health care system, according to a new study.

"When compared to nearly two dozen other industrialized countries, the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy for people who have reached the age of 60."

You know, it's time for Americans to convert their "We're # 1!" foam fingers into whoopy cushions. Recently, I've spent a lot of time escorting elderly friends to doctors' offices, giving me the opportunity to hear the give and take at the front desk. Over 95% of the conversation is about money, insurance. Little or none is about health.

What's really propping up the economy?

"For years, everyone from politicians on both sides of the aisle to corporate execs to your Aunt Tilly have justifiably bemoaned American health care -- the out-of-control costs, the vast inefficiencies, the lack of access, and the often inexplicable blunders."But the very real problems with the health-care system mask a simple fact: Without it the nation's labor market would be in a deep coma. Since 2001, 1.7 million new jobs have been added in the health-care sector, which includes related industries such as pharmaceuticals and health insurance. Meanwhile, the number of private-sector jobs outside of health care is no higher than it was five years ago."

No mention about the US system being inefficient.

Weak EPA plan would leave 77 million Americans vulnerable to deadly pollution, lung association warns

"More than 77 million Americans could be left vulnerable to deadly particle pollution if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) follows through with a proposal to set weak public health standards for the pollutant, according to a new American Lung Association report."By contrast, stronger new pollution standards supported by the Lung Association and other major medical and public health groups would protect 159 million people, the report concludes."

BushCo = Eco terrorism.

Warming expert: Only decade left to act in time

"A leading U.S. climate researcher says the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert catastrophe.

"NASA scientist James Hansen, widely considered the doyen of American climate researchers, said governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit)."

Breakfast with Al Gore persuades Branson to pledge billions to global warming

"'We just talked about the facts of the situation,' Gore said. 'You know, all of us have problems absorbing the reality of what we're facing with this. It's really a planetary emergency.'"

Bush reading program gets failing grade

"A scorching internal review of the Bush administration's billion-dollar-a-year reading program says the Education Department ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted.

"The government audit is unsparing in its view that the Reading First program has been beset by conflicts of interest and willful mismanagement. It suggests the department broke the law by trying to dictate which curriculum schools must use."

Batting a thousand at failure.

Two sets of budget figures in US

"The federal government keeps two sets of books, but the Bush administration only wants you to see one of them. There is the highly publicised 'President's Budget' issued by the Office of Management and Budget, and the almost-secret 'Financial Report of the United States' issued by the Department of Treasury. The budget says that the 2005 US fiscal deficit was $319 billion (Euros 254bn), but the Financial Report claims it is $760 billion (Note: all figures in US Dollars unless otherwise indicated)."

In keeping with their criminal values, it's appropriate the Bush Crime Family would have two sets of books.

Army Corps faked budget entries: Funds for Iraq work, set to expire, were stashed. It's called improper, but not criminal.

"The Army Corps of Engineers improperly created fake entries in government ledgers to maintain control over hundreds of millions of dollars in spending for the reconstruction of Iraq, according to a federal audit released Friday.

"Corps officials listed $362 million in potential contracts for a nonexistent contractor labeled 'Dummy Vendor' in a government database, an accounting trick to preserve funds due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, the audit said."

If the auto industry is dead what does that mean for workers

"In the face of these pressures, it’s no surprise that analysts from the Motor City to Wall Street are convinced that this is the end of an era in the auto industry. There is no alternative, these experts lament. Today’s auto workers will have to make do with less or kiss their jobs goodbye."

There are always burgers to be flipped.

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"Chavez is doing a better job of criticizing Bush than the Democrats and it makes Charlie Rangle jealous." --Rush, making half-sense

"I've known Hugo Chavez for years, let me tell you that man knows a diablo when he sees one." -- Greg Palast.com

John McCain has caved into Bush yet again on the only issue that still had meaning for him. McCain who was a prisoner of war has now caved into Bush's plan to allow the CIA to torture prisoners in secret prisons in countries that allow torture. The Republicans think that if you tamper with the definition of torture then it makes it not torture. However - if Bush doesn't intend to torture then why do you need secret prisons in countries that allow torture to do it? --Marc Perkel

"American Airlines flight almost diverted a flight over gay kiss. Their statement said their actions were justified because of 9-11. Yes, we must stop men from kissing there so we don't have to stop them from kissing here." -- buzzflash Link

"He has a huge credibility problem, for obvious reasons, and if a member of my staff lied about their identity, lied about their name, lied to their editors, ...I would fire them." -- Editor of the Washington Blade on firing Jeff Gannon, Link

"Bush's real objection to Common Article 3 is not that it is vague. It is that it will not permit abusive practices that he isn't willing publicly to discuss or defend." --Washington Whore Post Editorial, Link

"There's a lot of tension in the world. Over the weekend, Pope Benedict apologized to the Muslims. Altar boys, on the other hand, are still waiting for their apology." -- David Letterman

"In the case of detainees, we are faced with the situation with a very serious, tough group of terrorists who are determined to kill Americans." -- Karen Hughes, on why they shredded the Constitution, Link

"Today's conservatives support the idea of limited government, but they have increased government's size. They believe in balanced budgets, but they have boosted pork to record levels. They believe in individual liberty and the rule of law, but they have condoned torture. They have substituted religion for politics, and damaged both." -- Andrew Sullivan, President, Gays for Bush, Link

"Pope Benedict offered these words of apology. He's sorry that people felt bad. That's known in Vatican terminology as a 'me-a-kinda.' It's a time-honored tradition in the Catholic Church dating back to the Inquisition when Pope Innocent IV said, 'We deeply regret the fact that so many non-believers happen to be flammable'." -- Jon Stewart

"I'm sick of Karl Rove's bullshit." -- Bill Clinton, sounding like a fighter Link

"The hot gossip in Washington is that Sleazy Rice is being linked to Canada's Foreign Minister, Peter MacKay. It's gotta be awkward dating a fellow diplomat. Like today, MacKay had to promise Condi he would get U.N. permission before he invaded her." -- Jay Leno

"Picture your family dead. Just for a second. Are you picturing it? Now go vote." -- Jon Stewart, summarizing Bush's handjob from Matt Lauer (R-Whore)

"The information that the CIA tortured out of Khaleikh Sheikh Mohammed has provided valuable information and has helped disrupt terrorist plots, including strikes within the U.S." -- America's clumsiest liar, Link

"Like a deer caught in the headlights." -- Bill Clinton, on Kerry's wimp/gelding campaign, Link

"I'm prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other." -- John Kerry, (D-Coward) threatening the Swift Boat liars two years too late, Link

"I just don't spend that much time on him...to be honest with you ... I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him." -- President Murder Giggle on Osama bin Laden, March 13, 2002, Link

"There's kind of an urban myth about how this administration hasn't stayed focused on Osama bin Laden. Forget it. It's convenient throwaway lines when people say that." -- President Murder Giggle calling himself a liar, Link

"Bush goes to Capitol Hill to lobby for torture. He rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that he made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly." -- WaHoPo Editorial, Link

"Bush has given up on finding Osama Bin Laden. I'm surprised that the news media has not made more noise about Bush's reign of terror. As of 9/13/06, he has murdered a minimum of 44,000 people. Some sources estimate the total to be as high as 49,000. That's 17 times more deaths than Bin Laden is responsible for." --Celestial Reasoning, about Dubya, "The Biggest Terrorist of All Time", Link

"Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies." -- Bob Schieffer, who lied to help Bush steal the White House, Link

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Lowering the Bar

George W. Bush has failed to meet the low standards his administration has set for itself and the country, and he's attempting to lower the standards even further. I speak primarily to the Evil Moron's desire to "clarify" the US position regarding Article 3 of the Geneva Convention's. He want's to legalize the torture already done in his name. He, and those close to him, are war criminals. Now they want to lower the bar to protect themselves under the tired rubric of freedom, democracy, the war on terror, etc.

Bush and his cronies are moral knuckle draggers. It's pleasant, I suppose, to fantasize about the US being exceptional among nations of the world. Perhaps the nation used to be positively exceptional. No more. Bush's public and defiant airing of his dirty laundry, hoping to give it fresh scent, is proof of that.

The mere fact that Congress, under Bush's direction, is weighing the pros and cons of torturing fellow human beings indicts us all. At this stage of our supposed evolution, even considering it should be appalling, beyond the pale, taboo. The compliant, complicit media is sanctioning the discussion by also presenting the Moron's position as worth consideration. They share the guilt as well.

If this were a moral nation, public discussion would be about the immediate removal of BushCo from office. We wouldn't be able to stand the pain, the shame of the evil being committed in our name and with our approval. The banality of evil is alive and well in these United States. And there is no one more banal than the bookends: the Evil Moron and his sidekick, The Dick.

The people have stood mute while the nation has been defined by criminals. You know the litany of transgressions headed by the invasion of Iraq. We're nearing the point of no return. Sanctioning torture is the penultimate point. Bombing Iran will be mark the end.

How low can we go? Beyond our imagining, I would guess.

Last week I cited Keith Olbermann as paying homage to Lowell Thomas, but I, of course, meant Edward R. Murrow.

Picks of the Week:

Top 25 Censored news stories of 2007

#1 Future of Internet Debate Ignored by Media
#2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
#3 Oceans of the World in Extreme Danger
#4 Hunger and Homelessness Increasing in the US
#5 High-Tech Genocide in Congo
#6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
# 7 US Operatives Torture Detainees to Death in Afghanistan and Iraq
#8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
#9 The World Bank Funds Israel-Palestine Wall
#10 Expanded Air War in Iraq Kills More Civilians
#11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
#12 Pentagon Plans to Build New Landmines
#13 New Evidence Establishes Dangers of Roundup
#14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US*
#15 Chemical Industry is EPA’s Primary Research Partner
#16 Ecuador and Mexico Defy US on International Criminal Court
#17 Iraq Invasion Promotes OPEC Agenda
#18 Physicist Challenges Official 9-11 Story
#19 Destruction of Rainforests Worst Ever
#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem
#21 Gold Mining Threatens Ancient Andean Glaciers
#22 $Billions in Homeland Security Spending Undisclosed
#23 US Oil Targets Kyoto in Europe
#24 Cheney’s Halliburton Stock Rose Over 3000 Percent Last Year
#25 US Military in Paraguay Threatens Region

*Official touts nonlethal weapons for use

"Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before they are used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday."

Set it for "popcorn" and watch their heads explode. Heh, heh!

Media ownership study ordered destroyed: FCC draft suggested fewer owners would hurt local TV coverage

"The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says."

Harper's Weekly Review

Fatal vision: The strategy of chaos and ethnic cleansing by Chris Floyd

"But although the Peters plan - like the 2000 PNAC blueprint - was ignored in the Homeland, those on the receiving end of its enforced beneficence took notice. Especially in Pakistan, where the shaky throne of military dictator and Bush favorite Pervez Musharraf is being rattled by separatist uprisings in several provinces. These include oil-rich Baluchistan, which makes up 42 percent of the nation's territory - not exactly a chunk they'd like to give up for Peters's reshuffle. Angry editorials in Pakistani papers denounced his piece, with one asking why Great Britain was not a target for dissolution: shouldn't Scotland and Wales be free too? Another suggested returning California and Texas to Mexico while Peters was out there redressing 'unnatural' borders. The plan sparked a heated response in Turkey as well, and gave fuel to hardliners throughout the Middle East, who seized on it as confirmation of an all-out Western 'war on Islam.'"

9/11 Kean Commission Report exposed as 'Fraud of historic proportions' on 9/11 fifth anniversary by former 'Star Wars' program director

"On the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, three hours before the Kean-Hamilton luncheon address at the National Press Club, the former Air Force officer and director of the 'Star Wars' program who just won Florida's 15th District Democratic primary with 54 percent of the vote on an explicit platform to expose the fraud of the Kean Commission Report, and top 9/11 researchers, authors and activists will present hard proof that the official narrative of the Kean-Hamilton Commission and Bush- Cheney Administration is a fraud of world historic proportions.

"Proposed legislation for a new and genuinely independent expert investigation, the first reality-based 9/11 feature film, and the International Grand Jury on the Crimes of 9/11 will be announced."

9/11 Commission whitewash: Co-chairs admit they avoided analyzing the cause of the attacks.

"As both the Bush administration and its client government in Israel, with their invasions of Arab states in Iraq and Lebanon, respectively, make the United States ever more hated in the Islamic world, a new book by the chairmen of the 9/11 commission admits that the commission whitewashed the root cause of the 9/11 attacks — that same interventionist US foreign policy."

Americans more likely to be shot by law enforcement than killed by terrorists

"With that in mind, here’s a handy ranking of the various dangers confronting America, based on the number of mortalities in each category throughout the 11-year period spanning 1995 through 2005 (extrapolated from best available data)."

This hole in the ground by Keith Olbermann

"Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

"The President -- and those around him -- did that.

"They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, 'bi-partisanship' meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, 'validate the strategy of the terrorists.'"

Five years since 9/11: A political balance sheet (Part one)

"The question is: Were the actions taken by the Bush administration after 9/11 largely determined by the events of that day? Or did the terrorist attacks provide a pretext for the implementation of policies developed long before, but for which, without 9/11, there would have been no substantial popular support?"

Five years since 9/11: A political balance sheet (Part two)

"Embracing war [in Afghanistan] as a legitimate instrument of foreign policy, applicable in a wide range of circumstances unrelated to immediate and direct self-defense against imminent military attack, the new National Security Strategy placed at the foundation of the foreign policy of the United States conceptions that had been denounced as criminal by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal in 1946.

"The stage was now set for the invasion of Iraq, a country whose government had nothing whatsoever to do with the events of 9/11. While fabricating links between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, the US government placed its main emphasis on Iraq’s alleged possession of so-called weapons of mass destruction. Between August 2002 and the beginning of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the American people were subjected to an unrelenting propaganda campaign of government and media-sponsored lies."

Global media abhors US response to 9-11

"Summing up the mood in the British press, the Financial Times said: 'The way the Bush administration has trampled on the international rule of law and Geneva Conventions, while abrogating civil liberties and expanding executive power at home, has done huge damage not only to America's reputation but, more broadly, to the attractive power of Western values.'"

Gaping holes in the 9/11 narrative

"What we still don’t know about 9/11 could kill us. By 'we' I mean the public that has been kept in the dark for five years by a president who may know the truth but has chosen to ignore it. Instead of grappling with the thorny origins of that disaster, George Bush willfully turned the nation’s attention and resources to a totally unrelated and disastrous imperial adventure in Iraq."

Like so much American ritual, the "remembrance" of 9/11 was more bathos than substance. Whatever happened to the notion that less is more? I agree with one writer who said that 9/11 has become a commercial for George Bush.

No $2B for 9/11 heroes

"Senate Republicans killed a bid for nearly $2 billion to help sick 9/11 responders yesterday - blocking the measure without letting it come up for a vote."

Don't need no stinkin' Commie programs.

The day that changed everything wasn't 9/11 (Scroll down)

"Yes, it changed everything -- not September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers collapsed, but November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and left the U.S. at sea, drifting without an enemy in a strange new world."

President Bush holds a press conference, March 2002

"So I don't know where he [Osama] is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did."

Bush to Osama: 'America will find you'

"US President George W. Bush vowed to bring Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida terrorists to justice as America remembered the Sep 11, 2001, terror attack victims from 90 countries, including India."

CIA learned in '02 that bin Laden had no Iraq ties, report says

"The CIA learned in late September 2002 from a high-level member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle that Iraq had no past or present contact with Osama bin Laden and that the Iraqi leader considered bin Laden an enemy of the Baghdad regime, according to a recent Senate Intelligence Committee report."

The phony war

"The problem is, almost everything that President Bush understands about his own war on terrorism is wrong. According to nearly a dozen former high-ranking officials who have been on the front lines of the administration's counterterrorism effort, the president is not only fighting the wrong war -- he is fighting it in a way that has actually made the threat worse. The war on terrorism, they say, has been mismanaged and misdirected almost from the start, in no small part because the president simply does not understand the nature of the enemy he is fighting."

Subverting democracy with the big lie

"If representative government were alive and well in America, President Bush would not have dared to give the speech he made Monday on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. In a blatantly partisan screed, the president ripped off a nation’s mourning for the 9/11 victims in order to justify his totally unrelated and disastrous invasion of Iraq."

The real link between 9/11 and Iraq (finally) revealed

"*Five years later, according to Emily Gosden and David Randall of the British newspaper, the Independent, the Bush administration's Global War on Terror has resulted in, at a minimum, 20 times the deaths of 9/11; at a maximum, 60 times. It has 'directly killed a minimum of 62,006 people, created 4.5 million refugees and cost the US more than the sum needed to pay off the debts of every poor nation on earth. If estimates of other, unquantified, deaths -- of insurgents, the Iraq military during the 2003 invasion, those not recorded individually by Western media, and those dying from wounds -- are included, then the toll could reach as high as 180,000.' According to Australian journalist Paul McGeough, Iraqi officials (and others) estimate that that country's death toll since 2003 'stands at 50,000 or more -- the proportional equivalent of about 570,000 Americans.'"

Rumsfeld unveils new justification for Iraq war -- high gas prices

"The fact of the matter is - if Saddam Hussein were still in power in Iraq, he would be rolling in petrol dollars. Think of the price of oil today. He would have so much money. And he would be seeing the Iranians interested in a nuclear program, he would be seeing the North Koreans developing a nuclear program, and he’d say well why shouldn’t he - and he would. So we’re fortunate that he’s gone."

How Bush made the last remaining superpower a banana republic

"The US, meanwhile, is increasingly isolated and reviled. We have not helped our case by torturing people upon no evidence or probable cause. We have not helped our case by making stupid comments about how 'we' —the world's last remaining superpower —are not obliged to International Law but all other nations are! We have not helped our case by demonizing allies like France. We have not helped our case by being hypocrites. We have not helped our case by acting like stupid, spoiled brats."

In Iraq, tension over charter

"An agreement struck 11 months ago by Shiite and Kurdish leaders to win Sunni Arab support for a new constitution is fraying, causing concern among some political leaders that it could jeopardize Iraq’s fragile governing coalition."

Situation called dire in west Iraq

"The chief of intelligence for the Marine Corps in Iraq recently filed an unusual secret report concluding that the prospects for securing that country's western Anbar province are dim and that there is almost nothing the U.S. military can do to improve the political and social situation there, said several military officers and intelligence officials familiar with its contents."

Anbar province is 1/3 of Iraq in area.

Iraqi leader asks Iran for help with security

In his first state visit to Iran, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki today discussed the security situation in Iraq with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and asked for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s support in quelling the violence that threatens to fracture this country."

Won't this get confusing when BushCo bombs Iran for its oil while Iran is helping do what the US can't in Iraq?

27 die in mass Iraqi execution

"Twenty-six men and one woman were hanged in Iraq's first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."

Following Dubya's lead as governor of Texas

Fifty more bodies found in Baghdad

"In all, police retrieved 50 bodies in the 24 hours to Friday morning, most shot in the head after being trussed and tortured, a senior Interior Ministry official told Reuters. That took the body count in the city for three days to at least 130."

Iraqis plan to ring Baghdad with trenches

"The violent city will be sealed off with a series of trenches and traffic checkpoints to control movement in and out."

In order to contain the rampant freedom and democracy.

NATO in disarray over military crisis in Afghanistan

"Condemning the entire occupation as a failure, the report wrote: 'When international military forces first intervened in Afghanistan, much was made of the ‘winning of hearts and minds’, but this campaign has been lost. Locals assert that neither the ‘foreigners’ nor the Afghan government had made any efforts to counteract the detrimental effects of drought, poverty and poppy eradication in their provinces, and locals’ apparent fear of the international military forces show that the ‘hearts and minds’ campaign has failed. Anger is now commonly expressed in southern Afghanistan, and many Afghans who supported the international forces now speak of them with hatred.'”

Soldiers reveal horror of Afghan campaign

"Soldiers deployed in Helmand province five years on from the US-led invasion, and six months after the deployment of a large British force, have told The Independent that the sheer ferocity of the fighting in the Sangin valley, and privations faced by the troops, are far worse than generally known."

In 1893, the British were attempting to subjugate the Frontier (Afghanistan). In his excellent book, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam, Eknath Easwaran describes the aftermath of British policy: "The punitive campaign had met its objective. The Frontier tribes had been beaten back and the war ended. The Empire had collected a few thousand rusting rifles and enough fines to cover the expenses of a marching column for perhaps a week. In the process it had guaranteed the enmity of the Frontier Pathans for the next fifty years."

History has a way of repeating itself.

Mounting casualties compel Canada to send Afghanistan reinforcements

"To serve as a backdrop to his address, Harper’s aides assembled relatives of several Canadians who died in the attack on the World Trade Center and of several CAF personnel now serving in Afghanistan. Harper concluded his speech by calling on Canadians to pray for the victims of 9/11 and for the Canadian troops in Afghanistan."

The right-wing Harper wants to emulate the Evil Moron. Well, dance with the Devil and you're bound to get burned. Canada used to be aligned with the decent nations. Having selected a moron as his mentor, Harper has placed Canada in a pile of poop. Thing is, will Canadians notice? Or care?

Nato rejects appeal to boost Afghan troops

"Five years after the world stood 'shoulder to shoulder' with America in the aftermath of 9/11, The Times has learnt that many of the countries that pledged support then have now ignored an urgent request for more help in fighting a resurgent Taleban and its al-Qaeda allies."

European powers refuse to send more troops to Afghanistan

"Bitterness and general rancour characterise the relations within NATO one week after its senior military commander called for 2,500 reinforcements to be urgently dispatched to assist the 8,000 British, Canadian and Dutch troops caught up in savage combat in Afghanistan’s southern provinces. In the face of dire warnings that the NATO-led occupation risks losing ground before a resurgence of support for the former Taliban regime, the major European members of the alliance have refused to send a single soldier."

US 'handed off a mess' to NATO forces: Bush failed to Afghan 'job,' senator says

"'This administration has picked the wrong fights at the wrong times, failing to finish the job in Afghanistan, which the world agreed was the central front in the war on radical fundamentalism, and instead rushing to war in Iraq, which was not a central front,' said Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat who has signalled he will seek the presidential nomination in 2008."

First the tragedy, then the farce

"You have to wonder what guys like George Bush and Stephen Harper are smoking. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan rages on with no end in sight while they make speeches about winning. Meanwhile, the military is telling us that they are losing. A recent U.S. Marine Corps report on the situation in Anbar province west of Baghdad said that the battle was lost there and that Al Qaeda has filled the vacuum."

UK charity warns of Afghan famine

"A Christian Aid survey of 66 villages suggests farmers in the worst affected areas have lost all their produce.

"The aid agency is urging the British government and international bodies to give money to prevent people starving in north and west Afghanistan."

Starving Afghans turn to Taliban: Frontline now cuts half-way through Afghanistan -- extreme poverty, drought and hundreds of thousands starving in south.

"The Taliban's return to power is a direct consequence of the flawed approach that the US-led international community has taken in Afghanistan since 2001.

"'When you first came here we were so glad to see you. Now we have lived with you in our country for five years and we see you tell a lot of lies and make a lot of false promises,' says a former Mujaheedin commander from Kandahar quoted in the Report."

How would an Afghani say "Katrina"? Or should the people in Louisiana feel like Afghanis?

IDF commander: We fired more than a million cluster bombs in Lebanon

"'What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,' the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war. "Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets."In addition, soldiers in IDF artillery units testified that the army used phosphorous shells during the war, widely forbidden by international law. According to their claims, the vast majority of said explosive ordinance was fired in the final 10 days of the war."

Interesting how the criminal war in Lebanon has almost disappeared from the news.

Collective punishment: Israel's use of American made cluster bombs poses greater threat than expected to South Lebanese

"While the M-26 Cluster Bomb Unit may have looked 'promising' at military demo shows operating in ideal conditions of level, obstruction-free open areas and using 'polished bomblet' conditions, the reality is very different in the villages, which are seeing not the touted 'dud rates' in the 1 percent to 4 percent range, but rather rates in the 40-60 percent range. No weapons with this performance statistic would be taken seriously at any arms-sale outlets.

"The US cluster munitions dropped across Lebanon have been a near-total failure as far as their claimed purpose and justification, degrading Hizbullah forces. Lebanese Army, UN, and Hizbullah sources agree the bombs had virtually no impact on Palestinian, Amal and Hizbullah fighters during the recent conflict."

I assume they were made in the US and not China.

US moves to scuttle Arab plan for international peace conference

"The US is trying to block attempts by Arab countries to turn the UN Security Council into a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the upcoming General Assembly opening next week.

"In discussions among Israeli and US officials over the past few days, it was agreed that the US will use its diplomatic power to sideline the Arab League initiative, which intends to use the Security Council as the main vehicle for convening an international peace conference to deal with the conflict."

We want war, war, war! That's where the money is.

Angry young men against the West

"In the days after 9/11, Iranian president Mohammad Khatami condemned the terrorist attack and reached out to the West to fight terrorism together."

"Too bad we ignored him. We'd be safer today if we hadn't."

77% in US unable to learn a lesson

"77% percent of the people of this country believe that Iran will have nukes soon. So there’s your fake cassus belli, folks, it’s already done. (Not that Iran having nukes is any of America’s business, but neither I nor the Constitution set the premises around here.)

"Congratulations America! Your stupidity and child-like willingness to follow the leader will continue to get untold thousands of people killed."

False reports on Iran a replay of run-up to Iraq war?

"A report today by veteran McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) reporters John Walcott and Warren P. Strobel warns that some of the same type of shaky intelligence that proved false in the run up to the Iraq war may be rearing its head again in regard to Iran."'U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Bush political appointees and hard-liners on Capitol Hill have tried recently to portray Iran's nuclear program as more advanced than it is and to exaggerate Tehran's role in Hezbollah's attack on Israel in mid-July,' they write."

Palast charged with journalism in the first degree

"It’s true. It’s weird. It’s nuts. The Department of Homeland Security, after a five-year hunt for Osama, has finally brought charges against… Greg Palast. I kid you not. Send your cakes with files to the Air America wing at Guantanamo.

"Though not just yet. Fatherland Security has informed me that television producer Matt Pascarella and I have been charged with unauthorized filming of a 'critical national security structure' in Louisiana."

Exxon - erated! Palast escapes clutches of Homeland Security

"Good news from the edge of reality: Exxon has changed its mind. It was only days ago that they were employing the help of their subsidiary known as the Department of Homeland Security to put a Gitmo scare into Greg Palast and Matt Pascarella for filming the oil powerhouse’s Baton Rouge refinery — and about a thousand Katrina refugees being held behind barbed wire near it. Looks like they woke up and smelled the carbon emissions. Per Palast:"

Hidden depths to US monitoring

"'The White House simply refuses to be straight with us about what they're up to,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who says he has pressed unsuccessfully for answers as a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, which entitles him to classified briefings on the subject."'My sense today is that there is a staggering amount of personal information being collected on millions of Americans,' Wyden said. 'And how it's accessed and how it's used is at best unclear. What is certain is that there is no real accountability to ensure that a balance is struck between fighting terrorism and protecting privacy.'"

GOP leaders back Bush on wiretapping, tribunals

"Congress's Republican leadership yesterday threw its weight behind two of President Bush's most controversial national security programs, warrantless wiretapping and extrajudicial military tribunals.

"But the party leaders are having trouble getting all their members on board, including the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. And by backing the president's legislative demands, the leadership risks being labeled by Democrats as a rubber stamp for an unpopular president."

A defining moment for America: The president goes to Capitol Hill to lobby for torture

"PRESIDENT BUSH rarely visits Congress. So it was a measure of his painfully skewed priorities that Mr. Bush made the unaccustomed trip yesterday to seek legislative permission for the CIA to make people disappear into secret prisons and have information extracted from them by means he dare not describe publicly."

Jonathon Turley put it best on Countdown, Evil Moron wants to cover his ass from war crimes by having legislation that would retroactively make torture a good thing. Turley also said that EM has committed 30 felony acts re: wiretapping.

Bush demands US Congress pass bill sanctioning torture of detainees

"At times belligerent and incoherent, Bush said he would reject a proposed Senate bill on military commissions because it does not 'clarify' the Geneva Conventions to allow a program of CIA interrogations carried out at secret prisons, the existence of which the president acknowledged only last week.

"The CIA prisons, which Bush openly defends, are themselves illegal under international law, since the International Red Cross is denied access to them. Those held in these gulags have been subjected to what Bush terms 'alternative interrogation methods'—a euphemism for torture."

Call it what it is - Bush wants to torture people

"Tougher interrogations that violate the Geneva Conventions? Come on! I want one reporter to tell me what that is if it isn't torture. You wonder why the American people continue to be misinformed when the media goes out of its way to protect this administration. Tell the American people what this administration actually wants to do. Then if the population buys into, that's fine. Of course, I would be revolted if the American people backed torture, but at least we would have the 'clarity' Bush claims he wants."

I've commented at some length about Erich Fromm writing about the over the top narcissism of evil people. He also emphasizes the sadism of these folks.

Torture and the content of our character

"At stake in this standoff between the President and the Senate are legal and moral issues central to the Constitution and the character of the American people: the right to a fair trial, the use of torture, the accountability of high government officials for war crimes. It also tests the powers of Congress and the Supreme Court to rein in an errant executive."

Worried CIA officers buy legal insurance

"CIA counterterrorism officers have signed up in growing numbers for a government-reimbursed, private insurance plan that would pay their civil judgments and legal expenses if they are sued or charged with criminal wrongdoing, according to current and former intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the program."

Taxpayers paying the premiums?

CIA in middle of election-year battle

"To Bush, the CIA and their allies, the law urgently needs to be changed to protect the interrogation program, which they consider one of the most important ways to deter attacks against the United States."

And enjoyable in a psychopathic, sadistic way.

In a pivotal plans to get personal: Millions to go to digging up dirt on Democrats

"Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said."

Personal issues? NSA surveillance should prove quite helpful in that regard.

Bush administration plans even bigger EPA cuts for '08

"'EPA planning is now driven entirely by external fiscal targets without regard to the effects upon public or environmental health,' stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. "The Bush administration seeks to ‘disinvest' in environmental science, pollution control and global sustainability.'In his memo, Mr. Gray attempts to sugarcoat cuts by describing scaled-back operations as 'centers of excellence.'"

BushCo's Orwellian doublespeak.

US spends more on education, gets worse results, OECD finds

"The U.S. spent about $12,000 per student, second only to Switzerland among the 30 OECD countries based on 2003 figures, the OECD said today in its annual report on education. The U.S. outperformed only five of the 30 countries on an OECD test given to 15-year-olds, ranked 12th in high school completion rates and averaged 23 students per class, higher than the average of 21.

"Thirty years ago, the U.S. ranked first among OECD nations in high school completion, said Barbara Ischinger, director for education of the Paris-based group. 'This needs urgent attention as the labor market prospects of those who do not leave school with strong baseline qualifications are deteriorating,'' she said."

Mexican officials to burn ballots

"Electoral officials said Tuesday that they will burn the ballots from the disputed presidential election despite calls from both candidates to spare them."

Diebold machines are H.I.V. positive

"[Princeton’s] scientific study has revealed, for the first time, that a computer virus can be easily implanted on an electronic voting machine which could, in turn, result in votes flipped for opposing candidates. The virus, as well, could be written to then spread itself from one machine to the next resulting in a stolen election. The malfeasance would likely never be discovered, the scientists have said."

Major problems at polls feared

"In the Nov. 7 election, more than 80 percent of voters will use electronic voting machines, and a third of all precincts this year are using the technology for the first time. The changes are part of a national wave, prompted by the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and numerous revisions of state laws, that led to the replacement of outdated voting machines with computer-based electronic machines, along with centralized databases of registered voters and other steps to refine the administration of elections."

Suit: Ban computer voting: Attorney fears fraud, says state 'headed for train wrecck in November

"An expert would need just 2 minutes to reprogram and distort votes on a Diebold, one of four brands of computerized voting systems attacked in the suit, says attorney Paul Hultin. His firm, Wheeler Trigg Kennedy, has taken on the case pro bono for a group of 13 citizens of various political stripes."

China replaces US as world's largest exporter

"China's surging trade surplus this year, driven by continued increases in high-tech exports, 'constitutes a major challenge to U.S. global competitiveness,' declares the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI. If the issue is not addressed and the trade imbalance continues to grow -- 'like the gallows' -- then 'sooner rather than later the markets will trigger the inevitable adjustment, with what will almost certainly be more grim financial reaping,' says the analysis prepared by Ernest Preeg, MAPI's senior fellow in trade and productivity."

Damn . . . Chinese is such a difficult language to learn.

UN details massive US arms sales to Taiwan

"The UN Conventional Arms Registry (UNCAR) shows that the US has sold huge amounts of weapons to Taiwan in the past decade to help defend Taiwan against China, the Central News Agency (CNA) said yesterday."

Couldn't this upset our main creditor?

Ford cuts 10,000 jobs, closes 2 plants

" Ford took drastic steps on Friday to remold itself into a smaller, more competitive company, slashing thousands of jobs and shuttering two additional plants to cut costs and fend off a financial crisis.

"The company announced it would cut 10,000 more white-collar positions in addition to offering buyout and early retirement packages to all of its 75,000 hourly employees. It also suspended its dividend."

There's a train wreck at the end of the tunnel.

Ford's job massacre: A corporate crime

"Ford Motor Company’s plan to wipe out 44,000 hourly and salaried jobs and shut down 16 manufacturing facilities in North America is a brutal attack on the working class. Once again, tens of thousands of workers and their families are being forced to pay for the mismanagement and avarice of the corporate bosses and the crisis of American capitalism."

Quotes from www.bartcop.com:

"But [9-11] ended on a relatively humorous note. We got a laugh out of it.." -- Trifectaboy, talking about his big day, Link

"If the Americans were occupied by another country they would do the same as we are, or even more." -- Mustafa Yaqoubi, deputy of Moqtada al-Sadr, Link

"I am not so sure that the views about the Iraq war and terrorism are chiseled in stone. People may not have fully understood the approach the president took and his thinking." -- Tony Snow, making no sense at all, Link

"One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." --Dubya, telling the truth to Perky on CBS, Link

"Suggestions that we withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq validate the strategy of the terrorists." --Dick Cheney, Link So, to prevent validating their strategy, we're staying in the middle of Iraq's civil war forever?

"It was important a Democrat to stand up and call on him publicly to accept more responsibility for what he had done. I did what I believed was right for our country." -- Joe Lieberman, on standing up to president harming America - like Clinton, Link

"Bin Ladin generally opposed collaboration with Baghdad." -- Senate Intelligence Committee report, Link Yet last night, Bush was still honking the Osama-Saddam horn. Maybe if he read the GOP congress's report - he'd stop lying?

"One of the worst things about listening to those who rushed to ground zero after 9-11 is that you can barely hear their stories. For many, the lungs hardly work. As many as seven in 10 of those who worked at ground zero have lung trouble because of their heroism." -- NY Times Editorial, Link

"I don't believe that you can say a particular problem came from this particular event." --NY Mayor Bloomberg (R-Liar), denying the facts, Link

"Factually shaky, politically inflammatory and photographically a mess, The Path to 9/11? has something not just to offend everyone but also to depress them." -- Tom Shales, reviewing the Path to 9/11 comedy, Link

"I've seen a lot of evidence on this. There are extensive contacts between Saddam and al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.'" -- Sen. Kissyliar [Lieberman], before Bush's bloody quagmire, Link

"ABC's controversial The Path to 9/11 is eventually defeated by the sprawl of the story and by stopping the story dead while the [lying sons of bitches] grind their political axes." -- Robert Bianco, TV critic USAToday Link

"They didn't even get Albright's name right. Her first name is Madeleine, not Madeline. Geez. For $40 million could these guys have at least hired a copy editor? They don't even get the small things right. What a total negligent disaster." -- John Aravosis, Link

"George Tenet said that there were ties between Al Qaeda and Saddam going back for a decade. There were ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda." -- Condi Rice (R-Legs open) still lying, even after being caught, Link

"Karl Rove's fall election strategy? He'll line up 9/11 families to accuse McCain, Warner and Graham of delaying justice for the perpetrators of that atrocity, because they want to uphold the Constitution. He will use the families as an argument for legalizing torture, setting up kangaroo courts for military prisoners, and giving war crime impunity for his own aides and cronies. This is his 'Hail Mary' move; it's brutally exploitative of 9/11; it's pure partisanship. Decent people must expose and resist this latest descent into political thuggery. Bush's first priority is a brutal, exploitative path to retaining power at any price, you just got it." -- Andrew Sullivan, President, Whores for Bush in 2000 and 2004, Link

"What would Bush and Frist think if an American soldier were tried and [executed] based on evidence that was obtained through torture? -- --Tim Grieve, Link

Katie Couric: I know you care so much about the soldiers in Iraq. And when we told some of them we had an opportunity to speak with you, almost all of them said, "Would you please ask the president of the United States when can we come home?

Dubya: Mmm. And the answer is when the mission is done. When your commanders decide you can. You know, I get a little different response from the soldiers I meet. They've all said, "I'm honored to serve the country. I understand what we're doing. I'm proud to be a volunteer." I can't tell you how great the military is. It's such a proud group of people.

Couric: Well, Mr. President, thank you so much for your time.

Dubya: Good luck.

Couric: I'm really grateful. Thank you. Thank you.
-- "Hard-hitting newswoman" Katie Couric fawning over Bush, Link

"Did you tell her I intend to kick his sorry mother f*****g ass all over the Mideast?" -- Der Violent Monkey, when told in May 2002 that Helen Thomas was questioning the need to overthrow Saddam. In "Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War," it reveals Bush planned to invade Iraq even as he was saying publicly that he hoped to avoid war, Link

"Here we are 3 1/2 years into the war and we are not able to secure the road from the airport to downtown Baghdad. It's absolutely f*****g ridiculous. We don't want to secure that road, because we don't want that war to end yet because we want to bring a sense of fear to Americans... It's so sad and so pathetic." -- Michael Moore, Link

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day

Picks of the Week

Today's pig is tomorrow's bacon ( a Labor Day recipe): Some years from now, in an economic refugee relocation "Enterprise Zone," your kids will ask you, "What did you do during the Class War, Daddy?" by Greg Palast

"This week, Dupont, the chemical giant, slashed employee pension benefits by two-thirds. Furthermore, new Dupont workers won’t get a guaranteed pension at all — and no health care after retirement. It’s part of Dupont’s new “Die Young” program, I hear. Dupont is not in financial straits. Rather, the slash attack on its workers’ pensions was aimed at adding a crucial three cents a share to company earnings, from $3.11 per share to $3.14.

"So Happy Labor Day.

"And this week, the government made it official: For the first time since the Labor Department began measuring how the American pie is sliced, those in the top fifth of the wealth scale are now gobbling up over half (50.4%) of our nation’s annual income."

Perfect storm for the poor: In income data, something more damaging than Katrina

"All manner of politicians and columnists said in Katrina's wake that this was the time to revisit the problems of the destitute. The anguish of the people of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward would have at least some redemptive power if the country took poverty seriously again.

"It didn't happen. The innovative ideas that came from all sides were swept off the table. The poor became unfashionable once more. Congressional conservatives changed the conversation. A concern for the struggling gave way to debate over how to offset spending on Katrina with budget cuts -- directed in large part at programs for the needy."

This is in line with Christ's teachings: "Screw the have-nots, aid the haves."

A timely reminder of America's Enlightenment origins

"The author concludes by calling on his American readers to remember and embrace their Enlightenment origins at the present critical point in their history."

Senate moves to give Bush more power to wiretap

"The bill, which was written by judiciary chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and which has been widely and publicly excoriated by Democratic members of the committee, contains provisions—such as the institution of program-wide warrants, and warrants that do not expire for a year—that would weaken the strict limits that currently govern the FISA courts."

They're going to give more power to a guy who should be being measured for an orange jump suit?

First time released documents expose subservient Congress

"In this link you see various letters from members of Congress and the executive branch, with bureaucrats refusing information to the two intelligence oversight committees because the committee members do not have appropriate clearances. Of course, clearances, like classified information, are exclusively controlled by the President. So if he does not want oversight of anything he has made secret he simply refuses Congress clearance to see the material. This is the modern version of Royal Prerogative that was argued by Parliament against Charles I in 17th century England and was finally, so we thought, put to rest in the United States by the Constitution. 'National security' has converted the presidency into a limited monarchy with the power to deny the people, through their elected representatives, accountability for executive actions."

Bush White House to be subpoenaed by wiretap lawyers

"Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who say they represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas."

Iraq war has Bush doctrine in tatters

"No one has an endgame for Iraq. No one offers any magic bullets against stateless terrorists undeterred by conventional military power, or the dangerous regimes in Iran and North Korea that many believe to be bent on nuclear arms. The United States now faces a set of bad options -- or, at best, a deeply chastened view of the limits of American power."

Let me think . . . how about not invading countries on false pretenses? Maybe not supporting dictatorships around the world? Perhaps not being the biggest player in arms sales? Supporting fair elections at home? The stringent regulation of corporations and capitalism? Providing a safety net for citizens? Universal health care at home? Doesn't seem hard if you start thinking about it.

Iraqi hospitals are war's new 'killing fields'

"Authorities say it was not an isolated incident. In Baghdad these days, not even the hospitals are safe. In growing numbers, sick and wounded Sunnis have been abducted from public hospitals operated by Iraq's Shiite-run Health Ministry and later killed, according to patients, families of victims, doctors and government officials."

A virtual democratic paradise.

The big lie about 'Islamic fascism'

"There is nothing in any part of the Muslim World that resembles the corporate fascist states of western history. In fact, clan and tribal-based traditional Islamic society, with its fragmented power structures, local loyalties, and consensus decision-making, is about as far as possible from western industrial state fascism."

Dems Bash Rumsfeld's Nazi comments: Defense Secretary Likened Iraq War Opponents To Those Who Appeased Hitler

"Rumsfeld said the world faces 'a new type of fascism.' And he warned against repeating the pre-World War II mistake of appeasement."

Whereas, with von Rumsfeld and company, the world is faced with the old fascism. Rummy needs some face time with a mirror.

Fascism anyone?

"Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity." . . . .

"9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of 'have-not' citizens."

Data show one in eight Americans in poverty

"The survey also showed 15.9 percent of the population, or 46.6 million, had no health insurance, up from 15.6 percent in 2004 and an increase for a fifth consecutive year, even as the economy grew at a 3.2 percent clip."

Americans without health benefits may have set record in 2005

"The total has climbed every year since President George W. Bush took office, a point Democrats are likely to seize on in this year's congressional election. In February Bush called the 45.8 million who didn't have insurance in 2004 ``unacceptable in our country.'' Emory University Professor Ken Thorpe in Atlanta says Bush has done little to help these people."

BushCo has created a trickle up economy. Make that 'surge up."

Feeling morally, intellectually confused?

"And about Mr. Rumsfeld's other main assertion, that this country faces a 'new type of fascism.'

"As he was correct to remind us how a government that knew everything could get everything wrong, so too was he right when he said that - though probably not in the way he thought he meant it.

"This country faces a new type of fascism - indeed."

Worth reading through. Keith Olbermann closed with this on last Wednesday's Countdown.

Pentagon gives gloomy report

"Sectarian violence is spreading in Iraq and the security problems have become more complex than at any time since the U.S. invasion in 2003, a Pentagon report said Friday."

I no longer have power to save Iraq from civil war, warns Shia leader

"The most influential moderate Shia leader in Iraq has abandoned attempts to restrain his followers, admitting that there is nothing he can do to prevent the country sliding towards civil war.

"Aides say Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is angry and disappointed that Shias are ignoring his calls for calm and are switching their allegiance in their thousands to more militant groups which promise protection from Sunni violence and revenge for attacks."

No civil war in Iraq, says Bush

"US President George W Bush said on Saturday that early results of a Baghdad security crackdown were 'encouraging' and denied that Iraq was in the grips of civil war."

'Deluded': Extraordinary attack on Blair by cabinet

"Tony Blair will be served notice to quit Downing Street at a meeting of the Cabinet next week when senior ministers plan to confront him over his refusal to commit to a departure timetable.
"One described Mr Blair this weekend as 'deluded', while another said he was being 'self-indulgent'. They are among a growing number of cabinet ministers, some formerly loyal to Mr Blair, who have concluded he must leave office sooner rather than later if Labour is to have a chance of winning a fourth term."

Soldiers die, CEOs prosper

"Just as odorous, a mountain of corporate cash grows next to the piles of bodies. In this bizarre war where Iraqi civilians fear both suicide bombers and the United States, the biggest sacrifice that President Bush asked of American civilians was to get on a plane and show those terrorists a thing or two by going to Disney World.

"Defense contractors took that request to a logical extreme. They built their own fantasy land."

Arms dealers in charge

"Hard to believe that the US had no domestic weapons manufacturers before WWII, but that's what Dwight D Eisenhower said in 1961 before he left office as President. He also, famously, warned the public to keep an eye on the 'military-industrial complex.' Eugene Jarecki's documentary, Why We Fight, charges that the weapons industry now drives all US economic and foreign policies. The website offers succinct but significant scenes from the film, supporting the premise. Move over, Michael Moore!"

Weapons to die for

"Today, more than 15 states have introduced a depleted uranium bill, and Louisiana and Connecticut have passed theirs. It has created a nightmare for the federal government and put the Pentagon in permanent PR counterspin as well as exposed 15 years of official coverup under three Presidents and corruption in Congress. Our children, our sons and daughters, have been sent off to the battlefields of the Middle East and Central Asia to become uranium meat. The cost of their care has been dumped on the state medical facilities. Their families have been destroyed, not to mention their lives. It is time for citizens and state elected officials to pass depleted uranium bills which will help all soldiers by putting pressure on the federal government."

Goats and Hussars: A British harbinger of American defeat by Chris Floyd

"Don Rumsfeld is fond of historical analogies when pontificating about Iraq; he particularly favors comparisons to the Nazi era and the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II. Unfortunately, any historian will tell you that Rummy's parallels are invariably false, even ludicrous. So we thought we'd give the beleaguered Pentagon warlord a more accurate and telling analogy to chew on."

Homicide charges rare in Iraq war: Few troops tried for killing civilians

"The majority of U.S. service members charged in the unlawful deaths of Iraqi civilians have been acquitted, found guilty of relatively minor offenses or given administrative punishments without trials, according to a Washington Post review of concluded military cases. Charges against some of the troops were dropped completely."

Be all that you can be.

War is not a solution for terrorism

"THERE IS SOMETHING important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks, inevitably indiscriminate, are not only morally reprehensible, but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out."

The myth of the omnipresent enemy

"But if it is so easy to pull off an attack and if terrorists are so demonically competent, why have they not done it? Why have they not been sniping at people in shopping centers, collapsing tunnels, poisoning the food supply, cutting electrical lines, derailing trains, blowing up oil pipelines, causing massive traffic jams, or exploiting the countless other vulnerabilities that, according to security experts, could so easily be exploited?

"One reasonable explanation is that almost no terrorists exist in the United States and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad. But this explanation is rarely offered."

The commies under every bed have merely been replaced by a terrorist under every bed.

The Cheney presidency

"The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales."

The five morons revisited

"When the neocons launched the Bush administration's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and announced plans for invading Syria and Iran, I labeled Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Rice 'the Five Morons.' With the passage of time, I see that I overestimated their mental capabilities."

Going to war with the leaders you have

Name one part of the occupation of Iraq that has succeeded?"From the shortage of soldiers, to de-Ba’athification, to the disbanding the Iraqi military, to the lack of body-armor, to leaving the ammo-dumps unprotected, to Falluja, to Abu Ghraib, to Haditha, to the stage-managed, public relations Jessica Lynch incident (which was later exposed as a sham) every facet of Iraqi fiasco has been a complete and utter failure.

"And whose name is on that failure? Whose name features most prominently on the greatest strategic disaster in American history?"

Cheney chooses chief propagator of false Iraq-9/11 link to be official biographer

"Vice President Cheney — 'the man running the country”' — is now working on an official biography.

"But don’t hold out any hope that the biography will offer any revealing insight into 'Dick Cheney’s dark, secretive mind-set.' The author of the book, according to U.S. News, will be Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes:"

Rumsfeld on Iraq war critics: 'Quitters' who blame 'blame America first' and 'cannot stomach a tough fight'

"Instead, he took the opportunity to repeatedly attack — implicitly and explicitly — anyone who dares to criticize the administration’s 'stay the course' policy. Some excerpts:"

Rumsfeld's enemy: It's us

"Either Rumsfeld has delivered one of the most important speeches of the modern era, or he's gone crazy.

"I think the latter, not just because I think the secretary is wrong on his intellectual characterization of terrorism, and not just because he is wrong about the media and its intentions, and not because he is so pugnacious, or because he has been wrong so many times before."

Donald Rumsfeld's dance with the Nazis

"Here's how brazen Mr. Rumsfeld was when he invoked Hitler's appeasers to score his cheap points: Since Hitler was photographed warmly shaking Neville Chamberlain's hand at Munich in 1938, the only image that comes close to matching it in epochal obsequiousness is the December 1983 photograph of Mr. Rumsfeld himself in Baghdad, warmly shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein in full fascist regalia. Is the defense secretary so self-deluded that he thought no one would remember a picture so easily Googled on the Web? Or worse, is he just too shameless to care?"

The Bush administration and Godwin's law

"Perhaps, with Godwin's Law in mind, you'll allow me to indulge in a little bit of Nazi-analogizing. The following comes from a post–World War II interview between Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was allowed by the Allies to speak with Nazi POWs, and Hermann Goering, the Nazi Reichsmarshall. Their conversation took place on April 18, 1946, during a break in the Nuremberg trials, and was recounted in Gilbert's book, Nuremberg Diary:"

Rumsfeld: Terrorists manipulating media

"'They are actively manipulating the media in this country' by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

"'They can lie with impunity,' he said, while U.S. troops are held to a high standard of conduct."

Abu Ghraib.

Death penalty recommended in Iraq raid

"An Army investigator has recommended that four soldiers accused of murder in a raid in Iraq should face the death penalty if convicted, according to a report obtained Saturday by The Associated Press."

I wonder if Donald "High Standards" Rumsfeld goes along with the recommendation?

Iraq letter 'suppressed' by Downer (Australia)

"In it he warned the Australian Government the hunt was 'fundamentally flawed' and that there was 'a distinct reluctance on the part of many here and in Washington to face the facts' that Iraq had no WMD."

Howard should be fitted for a noose as well.

Positive press on Iraq is aim of US contract

"U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq."

Leave Iraq. Try, convict and execute those responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Apologize to the planet. Don't do it again. Contact me for bank account info to wire the $20M.

Why it's not working in Afghanistan (Scroll down)

"The story of success in Afghanistan was always more fairy tale than fact -- one scam used to sell another. Now, as the Bush administration hands off 'peacekeeping' to NATO forces, Afghanistan is the scene of the largest military operation in the history of that organization. Today's personal email brings word from an American surgeon in Kabul that her emergency medical team can't handle half the wounded civilians brought in from embattled provinces to the south and east. American, British, and Canadian troops find themselves at war with Taliban fighters -- which is to say 'Afghans' -- while stunned NATO commanders, who hadn't bargained for significant combat, are already asking what went wrong."

US spy agencies pressed for "intelligence" to justify war against Iran

"The aim is the same as that pursued by Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq war who sought to manufacture phony 'intelligence' that Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction justified a US invasion and occupation of the country."

How many war crimes does it take before being eligible for trial?

US renews threat of unilateral sanctions

"Three days before a UN Security Council deadline for Iran to halt uranium enrichment or face possible sanctions, the United States again raised the prospect of unilateral sanctions against Tehran."

Israel plans for war with Iran and Syria

"THREATENED by a potentially nuclear-armed Tehran, Israel is preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria, according to Israeli political and military sources."

Let them have at it . . . alone . . . without US aid.

Apocalypse looms unless we take the lead against proliferation

"The 30-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commits the 177 non-nuclear nations that signed the agreement not to acquire nuclear weapons and the 'Big Five' nuclear powers- the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia – to dismantle theirs.

"But, the Big Five have now largely ignored their obligations, and the Bush Administration's Nuclear Posture Review unilaterally withdrew its previous promises. Meanwhile, both the U.S. and France have developed new ways of designing new generations of nuclear weapons that skirt the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and Donald Rumsfeld has talked openly about violating the treaty."

So, countries with nukes are violating the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and the US, one of the violators, wants to invade Iran for, perhaps, doing the same?

US accused of bid to oust Chavez with secret funds

"The US government has been accused of trying to undermine the Chávez government in Venezuela by funding anonymous groups via its main international aid agency.

"Millions of dollars have been provided in a 'pro-democracy programme' that Chávez supporters claim is a covert attempt to bankroll an opposition to defeat the government."

Seems like the duly elected leader of Venezuela doesn't have the kind of democracy BushCo likes. It would be refreshing if BushCo would, just once, do the right thing.

One year since Hurricane Katrina: New Orleans left to rot

"The so-called rebuilding efforts have been little more than government-subsidized boondoggles for speculators, profiteers and corporate cronies of the Bush administration. Newsweek magazine accurately termed the official recovery drive 'mostly an opportunity for Southern companies owned by GOP campaign contributors to make some money in New Orleans.' One of the first measures enacted, even before the creation of the so-called 'Gulf Opportunity Zone,' was the slashing of wages for workers involved in reconstruction efforts."

'Lebanon will be rebuilt before New Orleans is'

"The folks at Brasscheck predict that Hizbullah, the so-called 'terrorist' organization will rebuild Lebanon before the Federal government coughs up the relief funds to rebuild New Orleans."

Spanish firm to build and run new PFI road in Texas

"Grupo Ferrovial, Spain’s construction, infrastructure and services giant, had a busy summer acquiring airports in the UK and Peru. Now it has a concession to build and operate a Texas superhighway.

"Construction of the new toll road project, designed to develop an alternative route to Interstate 35 as part of the planned Trans-Texas Corridor is due to start early next year."

America's infrastructure fire sale

"The Chicago Skyway Bridge is a 7.8-mile toll road built in 1958 to connect the Dan Ryan Expressway to the Indiana Tollway. In 2004, the facility was leased for 99 years, for a one-time payment of $1.83 billion, to the Skyway Concession Company, LLC, owned by Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A., and Macquarie Infrastructure Group. This same consortium won a 75-year lease for the 157-mile Indiana Tollway for $3.85 billion.

"Cintra is a Spanish company that has 21 similar highway projects in six countries. Macquarie Infrastructure Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Macquarie Bank, an Australian corporation with assets in excess of $100 billion."

Senator who put 'secret hold' on bill to open federal records is a secret, too

"An unidentified senator placed a 'secret hold' on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year. The database would bring transparency to federal spending and be as simple to use as conducting a Google search."

Instead of talking about being a democracy, the US should take the next step and act like one.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens exposed as blocker of bill to create a searchable database of government contracts

"Alaska Senator Ted Stevens has been exposed, by the process of elimination, as the middle-of-the-night insider who blocked a bill to make public the spending patterns of the government."

Thecorrupt moron who backed the pork barrel bridge to nowehere.

SAT score drop is biggest in 31 years

"The results come several months after numerous colleges reported surprisingly low SAT scores for this year's incoming college freshmen. The nonprofit College Board, which had said scores would be down this year, released figures Tuesday showing combined critical reading and math skills fell seven points on average to 1021."

The dumbing down of 'Merica continues. No wonder the Bush crime family gets away with murder; the populace don't know nuthin' and don't suspect nuthin'.

The 9/11 Chronicles: Destroying a crime scene

"Scott Forbes was an employee of Fiduciary Trust, a firm located on floors 90 and 94-97 of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Forbes reported that over the weekend of September 8-9, 2001, floors 50 and above of the South Tower experienced a power down, meaning that all electrical currents were shut off for about 36 hours.

"The officially stated reason was that the electrical cables in the building were being upgraded.

"In that Forbes functioned as a senior database administrator in charge of Fiduciary Trust's computer division, he was entrusted to shut down the company's computers before the shut down occurred. After the power down he had to turn the computers back on and restore service to the network.

"Because there was no electric power above the fiftieth floor there were also no security cameras or security locks. There were many outside engineering personnel, however, coming and going in and out of the tower all weekend."

Allowing the placement of thermite for the controlled implosions of 9/11. Time has proven these criminals would stop at nothing to secure and maintain control. From rigged elections to illegal invasions, they will stop at nothing. Nothing!

Twenty things we know about 9/11 five years later

"In short, Bush&Co. used and then grossly abused the awful events of 9/11 -- and continues to do so -- in order to expand and maintain power, to move aggressively in the world, to pay off corporate and wealthy-individual supporters through huge tax breaks (in the middle of a war!), to create a one-party system of government, to neuter the legislative and judicial branches and thus violate our time-honored checks-and-balances system that provides a brake on executive excesses, to amass more and more police powers in federal hands, to effectively control the mass-media and the vote-counting system in this country, etc. etc."

Mexico's election tribunal denies Lopez Obrador's challenge to July vote

"Feeding the flames of this crisis are the increasingly untenable economic and social conditions facing most Mexicans, particularly the poorest. While in 1978 a family had to earn two minimum wages to meet the costs of basic necessities, today it takes four, condemning 40 percent of the population to poverty.

"At its current growth rate of 5 percent a year, Mexico creates 600,000 jobs out of the one million needed each year, forcing hundreds of thousands to emigrate."

So, if one were a thinking conservative [oxymoron] one might consider backing Obrador over Calderon. But noooooo! Better to build a wall around 'Merica and let the brown sonsabitches starve.

Mexico: President Fox puts legislature under siege

"Mexican President Vicente Fox had to cancel his final state of the union speech before the country’s Congress September 1, after legislators protested a massive police/military mobilization against anti-government demonstrators by seizing the podium. This is the first time in modern Mexican history that a sitting president has been prevented from addressing the opening session of the legislature on September 1."

Has Canada got the cure? Publicly funded health care has its problems, as any Canadian or Briton knows. But like democracy, it's the best answer we've come up with so far.

"Should the United States implement a more inclusive, publicly funded health care system? That's a big debate throughout the country. But even as it rages, most Americans are unaware that the United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn't already have a fundamentally public--that is, tax-supported--health care system.

"That means that the United States has been the unwitting control subject in a 30-year, worldwide experiment comparing the merits of private versus public health care funding. For the people living in the United States, the results of this experiment with privately funded health care have been grim. The United States now has the most expensive health care system on earth and, despite remarkable technology, the general health of the U.S. population is lower than in most industrialized countries. Worse, Americans' mortality rates--both general and infant--are shockingly high."

At a social gathering yesterday the subject of universal health care came up. One guy chose the time honored (and worn) argument about people have to work for what they get, blah, blah, blah. I didn't argue. Stupid people only learn the hard way.

Unfortunately, health care is under siege in other industrialized countries as the global trend toward corporate vs. human welfare expands.

The merchant of menace: How "merchant coal" is changing the face of America

"Across the nation, 153 new coal plants are currently proposed, enough to power some 93 million homes. Of those 153 proposals, only 24 have expressed an intent to use gasification technology, which offers a way to handle the large amounts of carbon dioxide produced by coal combustion. A recent report from the National Energy Technology Laboratory anticipates the construction of up to 309 new 500 MW coal plants in the U.S. by 2030. If NETL's projections are correct, U.S. coal-generation capacity will more than triple by 2010, with corresponding air pollution and greenhouse-gas increases."

Northern Great Plains falls into dust bowl conditions

"Ranchers are turning to desperate expedients. Withered sunflower plants, normally raised for seeds and oil, are being fed to livestock. Cattle are being hauled hundreds of miles to healtheir feedlots, despite soaring fuel costs. Water is being poured in to refill natural watering holes that have gone dry. The governor of South Dakota even issued a proclamation declaring a week to pray for rain."

US state co2 laws won't prevent coal boom

"U.S. states' plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could lead to little change in national carbon output, simply pushing coal-fired power plants and other dirty industries to relocate in states without rules, experts said on Thursday."

Are the gods angry?

US cigarettes have 10% more nicotine than six years ago

"All tobacco brands have been increasing the nicotine dosage in each cigarette steadily during the last six years, says a report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The overall increase has been about 10% during 1998-2004. The higher the nicotine dose, the more hooked you get - it is much more difficult to quit."

Who says the US doesn't know how to add value to a product!

George and the Robot

A man named George accidentally walked into a very high-tec bar. As he sat down on a stool he noticed that the bartender was a robot. The robot clicked to attention and asked "Sir, what will you have?"

George thought a moment then replied? "Bourbon and water, please". The robot clicked a couple of times and poured the best bourbon and water George had ever had. The robot then asked, "Sir, what is your IQ?"

George paused and then answered "oh, about 164." The robot then proceeded to discuss the 'theory of relativity' 'interstellar space travel' 'the latest medical break-throughs.' etc.

George had no idea what he was talking about, so he left the bar but thought he would try something a little different. He returned and took a seat. Again the robot clicked and asked what he would have. “A Bourbon and water, please.” Again it was superb.

The robot again asked "What is your IQ sir?" Thinking of his father, George answered "Oh, about 100". So the robot started discussing Nascar Racing, the latest basketball scores, and what to expect the Texas Rangers to do this weekend.

George still had no clue what he was talking about and decided to try it one more time. So he left, returned and took a stool. Again, he ordered a bourbon and water, and waited for the question "What is your IQ?" This time for one of the few times in his life, he decided to be honest, " Uh..... Bout 91. Heh heh heh".

The robot clicked, then leaned in close and very slowly said, “I knew it was you all along, George, and "How is your father? Don’t you think you should get someone a little smarter than Karl and Dick to help you through the next two years, before you destroy the world? By the way, I got some of your favorite nose blow beneath the counter.”