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

"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


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