Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Afghanistan, Iraq, Haditha, Enlisted Investigation, Hollywood Bush, Europe Says No, Abstinence vs. AIDS and Al Gore Speaks Truth.

When we went into Afghanistan to get Osama and remove the religious right from power, it was a laudable endeavor. But like everything else that Bush has touched it didn't work and then turned to crap.

In Afghanistan today the Taliban is making a comeback and the Afghans are ready to see the backs of the Americans. The traffic accident and the killing of civilians in the aftermath didn't help. Afghan officials want the Americans responsible turned over to them.

American troops are not venturing onto the streets for a while.

Speaking to reporters, Collins also said he had been informed by the Afghan
Ministry of Health that the toll from the unrest had risen to 20 dead, with more
than 160
A spokesman for the ministry, Abdullah Fahim, said the final toll was still
being counted. Hospital officials say most of the dead and wounded were shot

In Iraq, things are going from bad to worse. Despite U.S. claims that things are getting better, the violence is only growing more intense.

Statistics indicate that violence has been escalating steadily for months,
particularly since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra north of Baghdad on
Feb. 22 kicked off a wave of sectarian killing. According to Brookings, there
were 21 multiple-fatality bombings in December, when national elections were
held for the new government. In January, there were 30; in February, 39; in
March, 37, and in April, 40.

The number of people killed in these bombings has gradually climbed, as
well, from 174 in December to 293 in April. This month's death toll is well over

It's gotten so bad that the Iraqi Ambassador told CNN that his cousin had been killed by Marines. The official investigation blew it off.

BLITZER: But even months before the incident in November, you lost a cousin at Haditha in a separate battle involving United States Marines.

SUMAIDAIE: Well, that was not a battle at all. Marines were doing house-to-house searches, and they went into the house of my cousin. He opened the door for them.

His mother, his siblings were there. He led them into the bedroom of his father. And there he was shot.

BLITZER: Who shot him?

SUMAIDAIE: A member of the Marines.

BLITZER: Why did they shoot him?

SUMAIDAIE: Well, they said that they shot him in self-defense. I find that hard to believe because, A, he is not at all a violent -- I mean, I know the boy. He was [in] a second-year engineering course in the university. Nothing to do with violence. All his life has been studies and intellectual work.

Totally unbelievable. And, in fact, they had no weapon in the house. They had one weapon which belonged to the school where his father was a headmaster. And it had no ammunition in it. And he led them into the room to show it to them.

BLITZER: So what you're suggesting, your cousin was killed in cold blood, is that what you're saying, by United States Marines?

SUMAIDAIE: I believe he was killed intentionally. I believe that he was killed unnecessarily. And unfortunately, the investigations that took place after that sort of took a different course and concluded that there was no unlawful killing.

In the Haditha slaughter, a 10 year old girl has come forward to tell what she saw that night.

On Saturday Iman Hassan, a 10-year-old Iraqi girl, told The Times how she
had watched US marines kill her mother, father, grandmother, grandfather,
four-year-old cousin and two uncles.

In Washington, Congressman John Murtha, a former Marine and a harsh critic
of the war, said that the episode might prove to be America’s darkest hour in

A Marine that was detailed to remove the bodies from Haditha, tells his story.

Lance Corp. Ryan Briones was among the Marines sent in to recover the
bodies, and he told the Los Angeles Times he is still haunted by what he saw,
including a young girl who was shot in the head.

"[The victims] ranged from little babies to adult males and females,"
Briones told the newspaper. "I can still smell the blood."

And this should come as no surprise, the Pentagon is only investigating enlisted men in the killings.

Not only should officers be involved in the investigation, but it should go right up the line to the people that made the policies that put those Marines in that situation.

Pentagon investigations into the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians are focused
on about a dozen enlisted Marines and do not target their commanding officers,
the lawyer for one of the officers said Tuesday

Once again waving the bloody shirt of 9/11, Bush is showing just what a sick puppy he is, by inviting the survivors of the passengers and crew of United 93 to screen the movie of the same name with him and Laura at the White House.

Maybe he'll tell them that he would have ordered it shot down anyway. If he hadn't been so busy trying to find a hole to hide in.

Into this volitile, march-to-war atmosphere comes the Hollywood movie, "United 93," which has done more
than anything to keep Americans thinking about 9/11, those thoughts that the
government exploits to spy at home and drop bombs overseas. Now, the government didn't have anything to do with film -- and by all accounts, skilled director
Paul Greengrass is even-handed in his rendering of the heroism of the passengers
-- but that doesn't mean that they can't take
of some good timing:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush invited relatives of some of the 40 passengers
and crewmembers who are portrayed in United 93 to join him for a screening of
the film at the White House Tuesday night.

European court said that European airlines should no longer have provide U.S. law enforcement agencies with detailed information about passengers traveling to the United States.

The U.S. said, "Bring it on."

The United States has warned of long security checks at U.S. points of entry if
passenger information is not provided before arrival, and has threatened to fine
airlines $6,000 per passenger and revoke their landing rights for not turning
over data.

Another stupid Bush Adminstration idea that doesn't work is abstinence. But spending billions promoting it keeps the religo-crazies happy.

Crushing news out of Uganda last week. The Bush administration's $1 billion
experiment in using abstinence messages as the basis of HIV prevention has born
its first fruit: In a public speech on May
, Uganda's AIDS Commissioner Kihumuro Apuuli announced that HIV infections
have almost doubled in Uganda over the past two years.

And the good news, Al Gore calls George Bush a 'renegade rightwing extremist.' 'Bout damned time.

Al Gore has made his sharpest attack yet on the George Bush presidency,
describing the current US administration as "a renegade band of rightwing

In an interview with the Guardian today, the former vice-president
calls himself a "recovering politician", but launches into the political fray
more explicitly than he has previously done during his high-profile campaigning
on the threat of global warming.

Paulson Another Rich White Guy, Zinsmeister Wankermeister, Nicholson Safe, Estate Tax, Alito Rules and Hillary Doesn't.

Bush named Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman Henry M. Paulson Jr. as Treasury secretary.

Paulson, who's known as being good in a crisis, is also known a being in charge when those crises occured.

Paulson has been kissing Bush's butt for a number of years, he was a pioneer in the 2oo4 campiagn, raising $100,000 for the current lame dork president. In this year's election cycle, he has given $68,000 to the GOP.

Filthy rich, devoutly religious and loyal, Paulson should fit in well. Of course, Bush has never paid much attention to the Treasury Secretary anyway.

Balding and lanky, Paulson spent part of his early career in Washington, working
first in the Pentagon and then as a staff assistant in the White House under
President Richard M. Nixon. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1974 but spent most of
his career in the Wall Street firm's Chicago office, only moving to New York
after being named chief operating officer in 1994.

Since then, Paulson and his wife, Wendy, have largely shunned the New York
social circuit. Though he is worth hundreds of millions of dollars -- last year
alone he pulled down $38.8 million -- they have never joined a country club.
Rather than summering in the Hamptons or tony Martha's Vineyard, the Paulsons
maintain a home on a five-acre plot carved out of the Barrington, Ill., farm
where he grew up. They are practicing Christian Scientists, so Paulson does not
drink, and he regularly reads the Bible while on the road.

Between them, they have given $426,000 to federal candidates since 1989, more
than $370,000 of it to Republicans, according to the non-partisan Center for
Responsive Politics. Henry Paulson was a "pioneer" for President Bush, meaning
he raised more than $100,000 for the 2004 campaign. Most of the $55,000 that
went to Democrats came from Wendy Paulson, who listed her occupation as
homemaker or volunteer.

While we're on the Bush Administration, Karl Zinsmeister, the new chief domestic adviser to President Bush is just out and out, right wing loony toons. Besides doctoring a newspaper profile of himself before placing it on another website, Zinmeister held the news coverage of Iraq and those who covered it in contempt.

Here's some of his comments:

"many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with
knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A
significant number are whiny and appallingly soft."

This from an article titled, "The War Is Over, and We Won." Tell Bush what he wants to hear and you can go far in this country.
"What the establishment media covering Iraq have utterly failed to make clear
today is this central reality: With the exception of periodic flare-ups in
isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq as warfare is over....Contrary to the
impression given by most newspaper headlines, the United States has won the day
in Iraq.... the battle of Iraq is no longer one of war fighting—but of policing
and politics."

In that 2003 article, Zinsmeister wrote that reporters considered soldiers "from
another species. Typical reporters know little about a fighting life. They show
scant respect for the fighter’s virtues. Precious few could ever be referred to
as fighting men themselves. The journalists embedded among U.S. forces that I’ve
crossed paths with are fish out of water here, and show their discomfort clearly
as they hide together in the press tents, fantasizing about expensive
restaurants at home and plush hotels in Kuwait City, fondling keyboards and
satellite phones with pale fingers, clinging to their world of offices and
tattle and chatter where they feel less ineffective, less testosterone
deficient, more influential.

Spoken like a true right wing chickenhawk.

In the Veterans Administration's Social Security number giveaway, there's going to be one firing of a flunky, an acting assistant secretary put on administrative leave and political appointee Michael H. McLendon, deputy assistant secretary for policy is sacrificing himself to protect the incompetent V.A. Secretary Jim Nicholson. Nicholson, who admitted that he had no idea what was going on in his own agency when he informed us that it was almost two weeks before he knew about the identity theft.

We need someone heading the V.A. that cares more about veterans than they do about Bush's
butt crack.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson announced several personnel
changes yesterday that will include the firing of a senior career data analyst
who lost the sensitive personal information of millions of

The 60-year-old civil servant, a GS-14 employee who earns between
$91,407 and $118,828 a year, has been notified that he will be terminated, VA
officials said. The employee violated department policy by taking home
electronic files containing the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers
of as many as 26.5 million veterans.

When the Republicans aren't trying to change the Constitution, or trying to do away with public schools, or sucking up to the religious right, they like to take time out to do charity work for the truly needy.

The repeal of the estate tax. The Republicans primary reason for being is to shift wealth upwards and that's exactly what they'll try to do next week with the repeal of the estate tax.

From Harold Meyerson at the WaPo.

The Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled next week to take up legislation by Arizona
Republican Jon Kyl that would permanently repeal the estate tax on the
wealthiest Americans. If enacted, Kyl's bill would plunge the government another
trillion dollars into the red during the first decade (2011-2021) that it would
be in effect.

Katrina vanden Heuvel at The Nation has this to say about it.

Here are the facts: the estate tax is levied only on estates worth over $2
million ($4 million for couples), which means approximately one-fourth of one
percent of all estates on America will pay it in 2006. Over 99 percent of all
Americans will pass their estates on to their heirs completely tax free – and
there is no tax whatsoever on assets left to a spouse no matter the amount.

The Supreme Court limited protection to government whistleblowers, with the latest right wing dud appointee casting the deciding vote.

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court scaled back protections for government workers
who blow the whistle on official misconduct Tuesday, a 5-4 decision in which new
Samuel Alito
cast the deciding vote.

Real Democrats are taking notice of Hillary's ooching to the right.

Some Manhattan Democratic clubs are launching a backlash against Sen. Hillary
Clinton amid some of her recent shifts toward the right. Once a liberal
favorite, Clinton is being shunned in her reelection bid by four local
Democratic groups furious over her vote in favor of the Iraq war and her newly
cozy relationship with conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bush Plan Iran, New Policy Advisor's Policy, White House Fake News, GOP Take Care of Own Crooks, Palestinians Snubbed, and Real Democrat vs.GOP-lite.

Bush, somehow thinking that he is capable of good judgement when it comes to foriegn policy, has the idea that a $75 million program to promote democracy, aid Iranian dissidents and expand the Voice of America will work better than negotiation in dealing with Iraq. Bush also thinks he's a war president and a decider.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration, shunning pressure from allies for direct
dialogue with Iran, is shifting toward a more confrontational stance and
intensifying efforts to undercut the country's ruling clerics.

Rice and
other officials have publicly advocated steps to pressure the Iranian
government. But by setting up the new offices, staffs and programs, the
administration is institutionalizing its long-held antipathy toward Iran's

The Iranians don't seem very intimidated.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said in a speech broadcast by state-run television
that "trying to provoke ethnic and religious unrest is the last desperate shot
by enemies."

He referred to a Bush administration request to Congress
for $75 million to promote democracy in Iran, saying: "Enemies of the Iranian
nation have earlier announced that they have allocated some money for this

Speaking of bad policy, Bush's new Policy Advisor Karl Zinsmeister has been caught tweaking a newspaper profile of himself.

The White House says, "No problem, what use would he be if he didn't lie."

White House press secretary Tony Snow said Friday that Zinsmeister erred in
making the changes, but he was well-intentioned: "This was done not out of
animosity; it was an attempt to set the record straight and he did it in an
All of this was a surprise to the New Times reporter, Justin Park,
especially because, as he told the Sun, he had received a laudatory e-mail from
Zinsmeister after the profile was published.

If the White House policy isn't lying, then why do they put out fake news stories?

Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television
stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major
corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news
segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies'

The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and
Democracy, found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations
were making use of the faux news broadcasts, known as Video News Releases
(VNRs). Not one told viewers who had produced the items.

Remember when the media was supposed to be liberal?

Fresh out of prison, Republican Charles McGee, the former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, goes right back to work for the party by training candidates how to run campaigns. And that's how he got in prison in the first place. Republicans, such a forgiving bunch.

A major figure in the Election Day phone-jamming scandal that embarrassed and
nearly bankrupted the New Hampshire GOP is out of prison and back in the
political game.

Charles McGee, the former executive director of the state Republican Party,
pleaded guilty to conspiracy and served seven months for his part in the scheme
to have a telemarketer tie up Democratic and union phone lines in 2002.

He's back at his old job with a Republican political marketing firm,
Spectrum Monthly & Printing Inc., and will be helping out at the firm's "GOP
campaign school" for candidates.

The United States is finally giving up all pretense at giving a damn about the Palestinians. George Bush, who has long proclaimed the virtues of democracy, is doing in Gaza what he has already done in South America. That is, turn his back on democratically elected officials who don't meet his approval. Hypocrite.

As part of the rethink, relations with every Palestinian government ministry is
now forbidden. US officials who have long been involved in assistance on
security affairs are faced with trying to distinguish which of the Palestinian
forces are under the interior minister or prime minister - and therefore off
limits - and which are under the president, Mahmoud Abbas. Only offices under
the helm of Mr. Abbas, the leading Fatah official, are open to US officials for

"It hasn't been lost on anyone that we've been promoting
democracy, then we turn around and say, we don't like your choice," he says. "It
confirms some fears that the US is not a fair broker.

Veterans may be able to have lawyers assist them in their claims against the Veterans Administration.

Sens. Larry E. Craig (Idaho) and Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) introduced a bill this
month that would allow lawyers to represent veterans applying for disability pay
and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

From the BBC, In pictures: Day of violence in Iraq.

In Montana, a real Democrat is taking on and beating an established, DLC, Republican-lite Democrat in the U.S. Senate primary. That's it, the good news.

It looks like John Morrison has lost his mojo in his primary battle against
grassroots hero Jon Tester. Two big pieces of news, in anticipation of the
primary a week and a half away:
The first is news that Tester
outraised Morrison
the past six weeks. Not bad for an organic farmer without
a lifetime of family-related and professional big-money connections like DLC
favorite John Morrison (the product of a political dynasty).

Bush, Iraq, Afghanistan, Reinforcements Not Cut Backs, News Casulities, Still Gitmo, FoxNews and Unrefromed Congress.

The President, in his Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery, stated that the best way to honor the fallen in his egocentric war is by the deaths of even more U.S. service personnel.

His speech shows that he has no idea of how to come to grips with the situation and that he's just being pulled along by events and hoping for something good to happen.

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) -- President Bush, delivering a Memorial Day message
surrounded by the graves of thousands of military dead, said Monday that the
United States must continue fighting the war on terror in the name of those have
already given their life in the cause.

"The best way to pay respect is to
value why a sacrifice was made," Bush said, quoting from a letter that Lt. Mark
Dooley wrote to his parents before being killed last September in the Iraqi city
of Ramadi.

The reality in Iraq is much different than that in Mr. Bush's fantasyland. The population is living in fear, not just of Americans, but of their own security forces and independent militias. Our invasion has turned Iraq into a nonfunctional country with the population living in constant fear.

Every morning the streets of Baghdad are littered with dozens of bodies,
bruised, torn, mutilated, executed only because they are Sunni or because they
are Shiite. Power drills are an especially popular torture device.

Under the reign of Saddam Hussein, dissidents called Iraq "the republic of
fear" and hoped it would end when Hussein was toppled. But the war, it turns
out, has spread the fear democratically. Now the terror is not merely from the
regime, or from U.S. troops, but from everybody, everywhere.

In a classic example of "too little, too late", the military announced that it will be sending the 3,500 member 2d brigade, 1st Armored Division to act as "emergenecy reinforcements" in the troubled Anbar province. The Marines here have been asking for reinforcements for over a year. Typical of the Bush Administration's management style, the needs of our military have a low priority.

BAGHDAD, May 29 -- The U.S. military said Monday it was deploying the main
reserve fighting force for Iraq, a full 3,500-member armored brigade, as
emergency reinforcements for the embattled western province of Anbar, where a
surge of violence linked to the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq has severely
damaged efforts to turn Sunni Arab tribal leaders against the insurgency.

In Ramadi, "Zarqawi is the one who is in control," the sheik said, speaking
to a Washington Post special correspondent in Ramadi. "He kills anyone who goes
in and out of the U.S. base. We have stopped meetings with the Americans,
because, frankly speaking, we have lost confidence in the U.S. side, as they
can't protect us."

The war that has claimed more correspondents than any other, has claimed two more. Paul Douglas, 48, and a soundman, James Brolan, 42, were killed, and a correspondent, Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously wounded in a car bomb explosion in central Baghdad.

These newspeople are a brave bunch and they do an important job for the American people. We owe them our thanks.

The President, on the other hand, says it's their fault that we feel so negative about the war, because they won't report the "good news" from Iraq. Poor deluded President, there is no good news in Iraq.

BAGHDAD, May 29 -- A car bomb explosion in central Baghdad Monday killed two CBS
News crew members, an Iraqi interpreter and a U.S. soldier, and severely wounded
the news team's correspondent, in one of a string of attacks that killed dozens
of people in Iraq over the course of the
Paul Douglas, a cameraman, and James Brolan, a sound man, died in the blast,
CBS News said in a statement. Both men were British citizens based in London.
Kimberly Dozier, an American correspondent who has covered the war in Iraq for
nearly three years, was taken to a Baghdad hospital for surgery. The network
said she was listed in critical condition and that doctors were "cautiously
optimistic" about her prognosis


The good news from Afghanistan is that it's not quite as bad as Iraq, yet.

Like the Russians before us and the British before them, we are in control of Kabul and little else. Yesterday we weren't in control. Riots raged across Kabul after a fatal traffic accident between a U.S. military vehicle and Afghan civilian vehicles.

The Afghans are saying it's time for America to go.

More sparked this violent riot, however, than just the growing negative
perception of US troops. Many Afghas complain that Kabul is a "toilet." The city
has foul open severs, poverty remains gross and shocking, unemployment is
sky-high with at least half of working-age adults unable to find a real job, and
supposedly 40 percent of the people don't even have enough food. After four and
a half years, many feel their lives are not improving, and they are losing hope
that they will improve. That can become a dangerous spark.
What has happened in Afghanistan is something that happens often. We promise and
then we don't deliver. The dashed hopes of locals turn to resentment, hostility,
and finally violence. But it is not only the US that promised so much to
Afghans, also Europeans and other countries. And no one seems to be delivering,
at least that is how the poor and unemployed of Afghanistan see it.
With Kabul in lockdown and sporadic gunfire still echoing through the city, the
perception that the US military is the problem and not the solution will
certainly grow. But, if the reconstruction of Afghanistan does not deliver
tangible results to many more of its desperate citizens, there will surely be
more gunfire echoing through Kabul.

The Pentagon has recently started a PR campaign to improve the image of Gitmo, they don't have anything else to do, because Rumsfeld is running all the wars. It started off badly when prisoners started fighting with guards.

Gitmo made the news again when we found out we were number one in avoiding human rights accountability. Now we have at least 75 detainees going on a hunger strike. Military officials aren't sure of the reasons behind the hunger strike.

Good luck on that PR thing.

MIAMI, May 29 -- Seventy-five prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, were on a hunger strike Monday, joining a few who have refused food
and been force-fed since August, a military official said.

FoxNews, the opiate of the ignorant.

Global warming is a plot by the Greens to take us back to the stone ages. Idiots.

There’s no scientific proof that global warming even exists. To be honest, it’s
a bogus consensus dreamed up by Greens because they hate industry. They hate
advancement. They hate technology…Greens will lead us back to the stone ages.

And finally, how Congress pretended to make lobby reform. Ruth Marcus of the WaPo shows us the scum and how they did it, or didn't do it.

Washington has many ways of avoiding action while pretending the opposite.
Nearly all of them have been deployed in the cause of evading effective lobbying

Monday, May 29, 2006

Haditha is Our Problem, Afghanistan Too, Colombia Slides Right, Frist Sucks and CEI Lies.

The cover-up didn't work. Containment didn't either. With it's first two options not working, the military resorts to an old standby, go after the lowest common denominator, enlisted personnel, NCOs and junior grade officers, prosecute vigorously and try to sweep it all under the rug.

The Pentagon is already talking death penalty for those directly involved.

Swift, American style justice and case closed, problem solved.

Except that the whole country is just as guilty as those Marines who actually pulled the trigger.

It was us, as a country that waved the flag and cheered Bush's mad dash into a war for no good reason. Even those of us who disagreed with the invasion of Iraq are at fault for not pushing the issue harder. But in the news media, war sells advertising. And if you believed what you were told, the war would be short, cheap and relatively casualty free. Plus, you eradicate vast stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Seemed like a great idea at the time.

Now we know better. After three years the U.S. and Iraq are both worse off than before the invasion. The troops on the ground are in much worse shape.

For three years, the troops have borne the stresses of the situation we've put them into. Anyone, no matter how tough or well trained, can only handle so much stress. Some Marines reached their breaking point at Haditha.

While we have to have courts martial for these killings, it will be pointless if we don't start giving troops the mental health care they need and we do a real study of the situation that led to American troops taking innocent lives. If we don't know the reasons behind the killings, we can't correct the problem.

The Iraqi people are so shell-shocked that they are indifferent about it, we can't afford to be.

Still, the Marines said, the public needs to understand
the pressures
of being on the front lines.

"I think it's unfortunate that Marines were driven to something like that,"
said Lance Cpl. Miles O'Reilly, 18, of Marin County. "It was out of line and
they should be punished, but something must have frustrated them pretty badly to
push them over the edge."

It's getting just as bad in Afghanistan. We have got to get our military out so that it can rest and regroup. It's time to get the UN involved and us out.

KABUL, Afghanistan -- U.S. and Afghan security forces fired on protesters in
the Afghan capital after a riot erupted Monday because of a deadly traffic
accident involving U.S. troops, police and eyewitnesses said. At least four
people were killed.
Witnesses said the incident began when a convoy of at
least three U.S. Humvees came into the city from the outskirts, then rammed into
a rush-hour traffic jam, hitting several civilian cars.

"The American convoy hit all the vehicles which were in their way. They
didn't care about the civilians at all," said Mohammad Wali, 21, a shopkeeper
who said he saw several dead bodies.
Three people were killed and 16 wounded
in the crash, which sparked a riot by dozens of stone-throwing Afghans who
shouted "Down with America," said Sher Shah Usafi, a Kabul police chief. U.S.
forces then fired on the crowd, killing one person and wounding two, he

Iraq and Afghanistan, chopper crews can tell the difference.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Military helicopter crews over Afghanistan and Iraq
know better than most what the wars in those countries have in common: There's
more below than meets the eye. They also have an unmatched view of what makes
the conflicts different.

Elections keep Colombia in U.S. pocketbook.

BOGOTÁ, Colombia, May 28 -- President Álvaro Uribe was reelected in a
landslide Sunday in Colombia's most peaceful elections in more than a decade,
strengthening the U.S. ally's mandate to crack down on armed groups and drug

Uribe's critics say he has shown a lack of interest in social programs
despite the country's rampant poverty and fear that his reelection will lead to
a strengthening of his alleged autocratic tendencies.

As part of his "democratic security" agenda, Uribe has put 25 percent more
troops and police on the streets during four years in office. Military spending
has nearly doubled, backed by $4 billion in U.S. aid for the anti-drug effort
known as Plan Colombia.

If you think the Republicans aren't sucking with all their might, just listen to what Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) thinks are the biggest problems facing America today. These guys are so clueless.

HOST: …Are gay marriage and flag burning the most important issues the Senate
can be addressing in June of
FRIST:…When you look at that flag and you tell me that right now people in
this country are saying it’s okay to desecrate that flag and to burn it and to
not pay respect to it, is that important to our values as a people when we’ve
got 130,000 people fighting for our freedom and liberty today? That is
important. It may not be important here in Washington where people say, well,
it’s political posturing and all, but it’s important to the heart and soul of
the American people. … Why marriage today? Marriage is for our society that
union between a man and a woman, is the cornerstone of our society. It is under
attack today


The Competitive Enterprise Institute has another lying ad about Al Gore. And this one is lamely bad.

This screen capture shows that Gore's CO2 meter is about 683,000,000, while the
one for the average person is 177, so apparently Gore's flying around produces
4,000,000 times as much CO2 as the average person does in their regular
activities. The average person produces
about 170 pounds of CO2 per day
. According to the CEI video Gore only makes
flights from one side of the USA to the other and never flies to somewhere in
the middle of the country or on the same coast. This calculator says
that a cross country flight produces 1600 pounds of CO2. It seems that the CEI
believe that Gore must take 4,000,000*(170/1600)=400,000 cross-country flights
every day of the year.

Enjoy the day off, be careful and think about those who gave all in the service of our country.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Wanker at West Point, Bush's Iraq Pipe Dreams, House GOP Kowtows, Cohen Gets Rich, Blair Kowtows and We're #1 Again.

Bush gave a speech at the U.S.M.A. and the implications that can be drawn from it are just a little scary.

Bush said, "This is only the beginning,...", speaking of his plan to spread freedom or destruction throughout the Mid-East. It gets worse.

"The war began on my watch, but it's going to end on your watch,...". Now, some of these new officers will be on watch for 30 or 35 years.

Bush compared his war on radical Islamists and American citizens to the Cold War. Why not, they've compared it to the Revolutionary War and WWII. Funny they don't compare it to Vietnam, but it would take a major policy change to tell the truth.

In an attempt to add gravitas to his hollow, stick-man presidency, Bush quoted Truman, "When history says that my term of office saw the beginning of the Cold War, it will also say that in those eight years we set the course that can win it.". Does anyone seriously think that Bush has set us on a winning course?

It must have been an agonizing 35 minutes.

President George W Bush has likened the US "war on terror" to the Cold War fight
against communism after World War II, at a military graduation ceremony.
Speaking to cadets at West Point military academy in New York state, Mr Bush
said the US would not rest until the threat of terror had been removed.

In what's probably a lame attempt to convince us that things are getting better in Iraq and troop cut backs will be happening at the end of the year, the military is telling us that things are getting better and we should be cutting back on troops in Iraq by the end of the year.

Of course, this all depends on the ability of Iraq to handle it's own security. We've been trying to train them to do this for the last three years with practically no success. But this at least this will get us through the fall elections before we find out.

And besides, we have the track record of Bush's and the military's past statements. So what do you think?

BAGHDAD, May 27 -- The U.S. military is aiming toward turning over lead security
responsibility for Baghdad to local officials and police as soon as the end of
the year, a senior U.S. military official said Saturday.
The handover, like
similar moves expected as soon as August in two provinces south of Baghdad,
would let American forces scale back to a support role while remaining available
for advice and emergencies, the senior official told reporters in Baghdad. He
spoke on condition of anonymity

I would remain anonymous too, considering that people are getting killed on the street for wearing shorts.

The coach of Iraq's tennis team and two players were shot dead in Baghdad on
Thursday, said Iraqi Olympic officials.
Coach Hussein Ahmed Rashid and
players Nasser Ali Hatem and Wissam Adel Auda were killed in the al-Saidiya
district of the capital.

Witnesses said the three were dressed in shorts
and were killed days after militants issued a warning forbidding the wearing of

GOP House members, fearing for their political lives, thanks to their dependence on the votes of the most radical elements of the right, are saying no to Bush's immigration plan.

They gladly put themselves in this position, now they deserve whatever they get.

Republican House members facing the toughest races this fall are overwhelmingly
opposed to any deal that provides illegal immigrants a path to citizenship -- an
election-year dynamic that significantly dims the prospects that President Bush
will win the immigration compromise he is seeking, according to Republican
lawmakers and leadership aides

Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen shows us how the game is played. After getting out of public service, you just offer all the experience and connections to the highest bidder.

"We Specialize in Access, Insight and Intelligence into the Defense Industry,
DoD and Government programs," the Web site for a Cohen investment advisory
service said until recently. The Web site said the Cohen Group's "Competitive
Advantage" included "Senior level relationships throughout industry and
One day Cohen is appearing at a Lockheed Martin Corp. event in India,
smoothing the way for a fighter-jet sale; another, he's attending a charity ball
at the request of a company that wants him at its table because, an executive at
the company says, "You are judged by the friends you keep."

The Bush Administration browbeat the British Prime Minister to change the wording of his speech to bring it more inline with the Administration's disastrous policies.

The main points of contention were possible action against Iran, climate change, and a proposed shake-up of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Blair, showing that his time is over, acquiesced.

Objections by President George W Bush's inner circle played a key role in the
alterations, which were made just before Mr Blair delivered his landmark address
at Georgetown University in Washington, on Friday, British sources have

And once again we find ourselves Number One, unfortunately it's because we lead the world in avoiding human rights accountability. Bush, the Republicans and America first!

The United States has become a world leader in avoiding human rights
accountability; a case in point is the reliance of the United States government
on private military contractors, which has helped create virtually rules-free
zones sanctioned with the American flag and firepower, said Larry Cox the
executive director of Amnesty International's US Chapter.

He further said, Business outsourcing may increase efficiency, but war
outsourcing may be facilitating impunity. Contractors' illegal behavior and the
reluctance of the U.S. government to bring them to justice are further
tarnishing the United States' reputation abroad, hurting the image of American
troops and contributing to anti-American sentiments.

Vietnam Papers, V.A. SNAFU, Iraq Picks Iran and Zogby Says.

Submitted as proof that conservatives are more interested in image than human lives, more Vietnam Papers.

Henry A. Kissinger quietly acknowledged to China in 1972 that Washington could
accept a communist takeover of South Vietnam if that evolved after a withdrawal
of U.S. troops -- even as the war to drive back the communists dragged on with
mounting deaths.

President Richard M. Nixon's envoy told Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai: "If we
can live with a communist government in China, we ought to be able to accept it
in Indochina."

Kissinger's comments appear to lend credence to the "decent interval" theory
posed by some historians who say the United States was prepared to see
communists take over Saigon as long as, to save face, that happened long enough
after a U.S. troop departure.

The sound you hear is the wailing of conservatives all over the country just finding out that their heros admitted defeat in 1972, but hung around three more years to look good. What's thousands of lives compared to looking good?

Senior officials at the Veterans Administration say they knew about the information theft for 13 days before they told VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. Hands up, everyone who believes that.

Now hands up for everyone that believes this is just a lame attempt to cover the butt of another one of Bush's incompetent appointees.

Senior officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs knew that sensitive
personal information about veterans had been stolen from a VA employee's home
within hours of the crime but did not tell Secretary Jim Nicholson until 13 days
later, according to a VA briefing
Michael H. McLendon, VA deputy assistant secretary for policy, learned of
the May 3 burglary less than an hour after the worker reported it to his
supervisors and to Montgomery County police, according to the briefing document,
given to congressional committees this week and obtained yesterday by The
Washington Post. McLendon met with two high-ranking VA information security
specialists the next day.

Once you drop below 30%, you can't even buy respect. Iraq is siding with Iran on nuclear development. What can Bush do? He can't attack them, he already has. So he's used up his complete range of diplomatic skills.

Life sucks when people find out your just a wanker in a $4000 suit.

BAGHDAD, May 26 -- Iraq's foreign minister said Friday that Iran had the right
to develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses but that he hoped for a
diplomatic solution to a crisis that has strained Iran's relations with the
"We think there is a principle, which is that the Islamic Republic of Iran
and other countries have the right to possess nuclear technology if it is for
peaceful purposes," Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said at a
televised news conference in Baghdad with his visiting Iranian counterpart,
Manouchehr Mottaki.

According to Zogby, Congress and Big Business are just a little more popular than anthrax. The media beats them, but not much. And the President and the Judicial system are still fooling between a quarter and a third of the people.

Three out of four (75%) said they trust government less than they did five
years ago, just 5% said they think corporations do right by the consumers they
are in business to serve, and only 25% feel the reporting is fair and accurate
in the newspapers they read or the nightly broadcast network news they watch on
television. Nearly 60% said they believe the “state of honesty in America” today
is in poor shape (18% said it is in the worst possible shape).

Overall, just 3% said they think Congress in general is trustworthy, compared
to 24% who said President Bush is trustworthy and 29% who said they can put
their faith in the national court system, the survey shows. Corporate leaders in
America are nearly as widely distrusted as Congress – just 7% said they are

The good news is that three quarters of us think we can get by with a little help from our friends.

However, Americans do feel they can bank on the actions and words of their
friends and co–workers – 75% said the people they work with and live near are
trustworthy. Almost everyone (97%) said they consider themselves to be
trustworthy, and 85% said they think their personal goals in life are less
important than acting with honesty and integrity


And it's Saturday.

Losing Our Soul in Iraq.

When we start seeing the people that we are supposedly liberating as something less than human, we've lost. We've lost the war and our humanity.

That's the point we reached in Nam and we've reached it in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's not surprising that this has happened. When Bush decided to do what wasn't right and invade Iraq, he sent in too few troops and they had no mission. They became little more than slowly moving targets in Bush's PR campaign to show the wonderful things that have happened in Iraq since the invasion. But after three years, Bush and the war are starting to smell.

The intentional slaughter of innocent civilians is a sign that Mr. Bush's Little War has run it's course.

It's time to leave. We've shed enough blood, we've spent enough money, we've destroyed enough of Iraq, Halliburton's made enough money and the rest of the world dislikes us enough. It's time to go, we've proven that Bush, Rumsfeld and company haven't got any idea of how to handle the situation. "Staying the course" is not a viable military plan. Beg the UN to come in and take over. What have we got to lose? Our pride? That went out when our President invaded another country for no other reason than because he could.

Here's the fruit of all the labor that the Bush Administration and the right wing propaganda machine put into the lies that led us to war.

In Haditha, Memories of a Massacre
Iraqi Townspeople Describe Slaying of 24 Civilians by Marines in Nov. 19 Incident

BAGHDAD, May 26 -- Witnesses to the slaying of 24 Iraqi civilians by U.S.
Marines in the western town of Haditha say the Americans shot men, women and
children at close range in retaliation for the death of a Marine lance corporal
in a roadside
Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home
as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families, recalled
hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English
for his life and the lives of his family members. "I heard Younis speaking to
the Americans, saying: 'I am a friend. I am good,' " Fahmi said. "But they
killed him, and his wife and daughters."

Friday, May 26, 2006

American Gestapo, ANWR, Mutiny Threat, Big Brother and Saving the Internet.

Michael Hayden, the White House lapdog in the NSA, was comfirmed today by the Senate. Hayden done everything in his power to spy on the citizens of this country to please the Bush Administration. Only 14 Democratic Senators seem to know who they work for. The 14 Democrats who believe the 4th Amendment is something more than presidential whim are:

Evan Bayh, Maria Cantwell, Hillary Clinton, Mark Dayton, Christopher Dodd, Byron Dorgan, Dick Durbin, Russell Feingold, Tom Harkin, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Robert Menéndez, Barack Obama, Ron Wyden

Thanks for trying.

Over in the House, the simple-minded voted to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge so that the petroleum companies can take even more of our money. The effects of drilling in ANWR are negligible and won't even be brought on line for 13 years.

Author of the bill, House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.), who happens to be an industry loving, anti-enviornment cretin, had this to say,

"Once again, the House has voted to put Americans to work producing more of our
own energy, And, once again, liberals defied the common-sense principle of
supply and demand by voting no. That's a great way to keep prices on the rise."

The 27 gutless, industry suck up Democrats that voted for this and think principles are something that oil companies buy are:

Marion Berry, Sanford Bishop, Dan Boren, Allen Boyd, Robert Brady, Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Bud Cramer, Henry Cuellar, Artur Davis, Lincoln Davis, Chet Edwards, Gene Green, Al Green, Rubén Hinojosa, William Jefferson, Paul Kanjorski, Charles Melancon, John Murtha, Solomon Ortiz, Collin Peterson, Silvestre Reyes, Mike Ross, Ike Skelton, John Tanner, Gene Taylor, Bennie Thompson

And my Congressman Dan Boren continues to vote Republican.

Fortunately this bill will probably be killed in the Senate. This was just a show vote, to show solidarity with the petroleum industry.

Strange things are going on in the Bush Administration, even stranger than the usual strange stuff.

The heads of DOJ and the FBI are threatening to quit if they have to turn over
papers taken from crooked Congressman William Jefferson's (D-LA) congressional
Justice prosecutors and FBI agents feared that the White House was ready to
acquiesce to demands from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and other
lawmakers that the materials be returned to the Louisiana congressman, who is
the subject of a criminal probe by the FBI. Vice President Cheney's chief of
staff, David S. Addington, was among the leading White House critics of the FBI
raid, telling officials at Justice and on Capitol Hill that he believed the
search was questionable, several sources familiar with his views said.

Administration officials said yesterday that the specter of top-level
resignations or firings at Justice and the FBI was a crucial turning point in
the standoff, helping persuade President Bush to announce a cease-fire on
Thursday. Bush ordered that the Jefferson materials be sealed for 45 days while
Justice officials and House lawmakers work out their differences, while also
making it clear that he expected the case against Jefferson to proceed.

Congress-0. Gestapo-1

Think I'm over doing the Gespapo stuff? Well, read this.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The United States government, not any court, is the
best judge of whether to keep programs such as its controversial effort to
eavesdrop on citizens a secret, an assistant attorney general said on Wednesday.

But there is some good news out there. The House Judiciary Committee passed the “Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006”. It's not over, but it's a great start.

A lot of thanks should go to and

The broad, nonpartisan movement for Internet freedom notched a major victory
today, when a bipartisan majority of the House Judiciary Committee passed the
“Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006” — a bill that offers
meaningful protections for Network Neutrality, “the First Amendment of the

“Today’s vote would have been unthinkable three weeks ago,” said Josh Silver,
executive director of Free Press, the nonpartisan media reform group that
coordinates the Coalition. “It shows that the politicians
are listening to the vast number of citizens who don’t want the Internet to
become the private domain of the cable and telephone monopolies. Today’s vote is
a milestone for the fast-growing movement to protect the public interest and
defend Internet freedom.”

Bush and Blair Admit They Were Clueless on Iraq, Iran or not Iran and Tokin'.

In a roundabout way Blair and Bush admitted that they had no idea what they were getting into, invading Iraq.

Sticking to the "It was the right thing to do." line, with a "no matter how bad we screwed it up." disclaimer, the two held a joint news conference.

More than three years of war in Iraq, the country worse off than it was when we went in, 2500 good troops killed and thousands maimed, the U.S. broke and hated by the rest of the world, $3.00 gas and these two losers get up and say it was the right thing to do.

They actually think that we are so stupid that we'll believe them.

President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair last night acknowledged a
series of errors in managing the occupation of Iraq that have made the conflict
more difficult and more damaging to the U.S. image abroad, even as they insisted
that enough progress has been made that other nations should support the nascent
Iraqi government.

I've been talking a lot about the situation we have with Iran and it's nuclear program. Since I don't want to see an even bigger mistake than we made in Iraq, I'll be keeping up with this pretty close.

If you've been keeping up, you know that I believe that Bush is a complete freaking idiot for not taking advantage of the negotiation opportunity currently being offered by Iran. The Washington Post is offering dueling editorials on the subject.

Here's Charles Krauthammer, he like Bush, doesn't believe we should negotiate. He, also like Bush, is wrong.

Say No to Tehran's Gambit

All of a sudden, revolutionary Iran has offered direct talks with the United
States. All of a sudden, the usual suspects -- European commentators, American
liberals, dissident CIA analysts, Madeleine Albright -- are urging the
administration to take the bait.

It is not rare to see a regime such as Iran's -- despotic, internally
weak, feeling the world closing in -- attempt so transparent a ploy to relieve
pressure on itself. What is rare is to see the craven alacrity with which such a
ploy is taken up by others.

And here's David Ignatius, he thinks we should negotiate. He's right.

It's Time to Engage With Iran

"Only connect." That was the trademark line of E.M. Forster's great novel
"Howards End." And it's a useful injunction in thinking about U.S. strategy
toward Iran and the wider conflicts between the West and the Muslim

We are in the early stages of what the Centcom commander, Gen. John
Abizaid, calls "the first war of globalization, between openness and closed
societies." One key to winning that war, Abizaid told a small group of reporters
at the Pentagon yesterday, is to expand openness and connection. He called
al-Qaeda "the military arm of the closed order." The same could be said of the
extremist mullahs in Tehran who are pushing for nuclear weapons.

We don't really have much choice, we're broke, the military's exhausted, no one's on our side and the alternative is just crazy.

And for some of the best news since Bush and the Republicans took over, smoking
dope doesn't cause lung cancer. Unlike breathing our air.

The largest study of its kind has unexpectedly concluded that smoking
marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer.
The new
findings "were against our expectations," said Donald Tashkin of the University
of California at Los Angeles, a pulmonologist who has studied marijuana for 30

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana
use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with
heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and
even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Now that's the kind of news to start a weekend with.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kenny Boy Goes Down, Immigration, Bush & illegals, GOP Not Playing Well With Itself and FBI to Investigate Pols.

Ken Lay's and Jeffrey Skilling's guilty verdict is the big news today. Though, it's hardly surprising.

The sentencing will be on September 11.

HOUSTON, May 25 -- Jurors in the Enron trial made it clear that it would have
been better for former executives Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling if
they'd kept their mouths shut and stayed off the witness stand.

While we're on the subject of being too stupid to keep your mouth shut, gives us Bush's connections to Enron in Bush's Enron Lies.

--Bush personally joined the fight against imposing caps on the soaring price of
electricity in California at a time when Enron was artificially driving up the
price of electricity by manipulating supply. Bush’s resistance to price caps
bought Enron extra time to gouge hundreds of millions of dollars from
California’s consumers.

--Bush granted Lay broad influence over the
development of the administration’s energy policies, including the choice of key
regulators to oversee Enron’s businesses. The chairman of the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission was replaced in 2001 after he began to delve into Enron’s
complex derivative-financing schemes.
Enron's gone, how many other corporations are ripping us off? Are Lay and Skilling the just the bones they're throwing us to get our attention away from what's still going on?

It's what I think, but then I'm a cynic. Daniel Gross at Slate must be a cynic too. Lay and Skilling Aren't the Only Guilty Ones

It would be nice if this vision of a sparkling clean corporate America were true. It would also be nice if everyone could have a pony. Alas, the accounting games and executive-compensation excess that began in the 1990s are still very much with us. Some of the most obvious offenders have been caught, but huge amounts of corporate corruption remain.

The Senate passed their immigration bill yesterday. Bush got pretty much what he laid out in his immigration speech. Now it goes to the House, when they get done it will probably a very different bill.

The Senate yesterday approved legislation that would trigger the biggest changes
to U.S. immigration policy in decades, by strengthening border security,
establishing a guest-worker program, and providing the means for millions of
illegal immigrants to stay in the country and possibly become citizens.

The product of a tenuous bipartisan coalition that faced tough
conservative opposition, the measure calls for 370 miles of triple-layer fencing
along the Mexican border, a complicated three-tiered system for determining who
can stay and who must leave the country, and more jail cells for those awaiting
deportation. It would declare English the country's national language, a gesture
that many advocates found insulting but accepted in hopes of helping millions of
undocumented workers achieve legal status.

There's other critics besides the right. Many are saying the Senate bill will do away with due process for immigrants. Just wait until the House gets done with it.

The legislation approved by the Senate yesterday would offer many illegal
immigrants a chance at citizenship. But advocates of expanded immigration rights
complain that "hidden traps" woven through the bill's 300 pages erode
significant due-process protections for all foreign-born people living in the
United States.

A coalition of civil rights, religious and legal groups
says the legislation would make it easier for the government to detain or deport
immigrants -- whether in the country legally or not -- while making it more
difficult for them to prove they deserve asylum or naturalization.

This whole immigration thing is putting the Republicans in a squeeze. On one side they have their xenaphobic base that don't want any border crossings, on the other they have Big Business, they want the cheap labor and they fund the party. What's a poor pandering Republican to do?

Why Bush Needs "Illegal" Immigrants from

"Some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal
immigrant, and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty," said Bush.
"I disagree. It is neither wise, nor realistic to round up millions of people,
many with deep roots in the United States, and send them across the border."

Nevertheless, that is exactly what many Republicans, in their wettest of
dreams, wish to do because that is what their constituents want.

According to the WSJ the Republican party has lost it's lockstep and is in the process of falling apart. Rotten things have a tendency to do that.

Sandwiched between the news conference and the budget fight was Thursday night's
debate on a natural-resources bill -- an annual battleground for Western lands
and energy issues. On a series of six amendments, environmentalists won easily
as scores of Republicans broke ranks.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R., Alaska), who helped
engineer last year's costly highway bill, couldn't save relatively modest sums
for logging roads in Alaska's Tongass National Forest. And House Resources
Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, who faces a primary challenge June 6 in
California, first helped to strike a provision related to oil royalties on
federal lands; he then backed the substitute seeking to accomplish the same
California Rep. George Miller, a Democratic veteran of many environmental
fights, smiled in recalling the palpable agitation in the air that evening. "You
could start to see, they smelled meat cooking here. The atmosphere is changing."

And some good news. The FBI is going to do something they should have been doing for quite some time now. They're going to start investigating election and political shenanigans.

Federal law-enforcement officials say they witnessed a dramatic jump in
campaign-finance and other election-related crimes in the 2004 presidential
election year and are determined to beef up their policing of candidates running
for federal and local office around the country this year.

Iran, Bush Must Want War, He's Blowing Off Peace.

Bush gets a letter from the Iranian President, the first from an Iranian leader to an American President in 27 years.

Any rational person would take this opportunity to, at least. try to come to some kind of an agreement that would be acceptable to both sides.

At this time China, Russia, the United States, France,Britain and Germany are working to try to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the problem.

But our in way, way over his head President says no.

The White House yesterday ruled out previously authorised direct talks between
Tehran and the US ambassador in Baghdad, which were to have focused on the
situation in Iraq. The move marks a hardening of the Bush administration's
position, despite pressure from the international community to enter into direct
dialogue with Iran.

A White House official said that although the US
envoy had originally been granted a mandate for talks with Iran, "we have
decided not to pursue it."

What can I say. How do you comment on sheer stupidity?

Here's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to George Bush.

How to Buy a Federal Judge, Killing Civilians, AEI has a Plan and Dem vs. Dem.

Under the current political regime it's certainly conceivable that some of us may be going before a federal judge. At this time it seems the best way to garner judicial sympathy is by donating to either the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) or George Mason University's Law & Economics Center.

These organizations, who've said in the past they receive no corporate funding and of course, they were lying, provide happy places for federal judges to get away with some interested parties to relax and be lobbied.

There are 349 judges that have, at least, given the impression that their decisions might be swayed. They have taken a total of 1,158 all expense paid getaways. This is up to 2004, you know it's got to be a lot more now.

Why do we put up with this?

Two organizations that have provided free trips to hundreds of federal judges
received large contributions from tobacco, oil and other corporate interests,
according to documents released yesterday.

U.S. military officially apologized for the deaths of 16 civilians in Afghanistan. But we also placed the responsibility on the Taliban and got some afghans to agree. Therefore, the whole incident was the fault of the Taliban, with the exception of the killing part. So be good little Americans and don't think about the killing of civilians, just think bad Taliban. Any good conservative will tell you it's not killing civilians, it's just damaging the collateral.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, May 24 -- The U.S. military expressed regret Wednesday
for the deaths of a reported 16 civilian villagers Monday in U.S. airstrikes
near here, but officials and elders said Taliban insurgents were responsible for
"We never wanted this to happen," Col. Thomas Collins, a U.S. military
spokesman, told reporters in Kabul, the capital. "The ultimate cause of
civilians being injured and killed was that the Taliban knowingly and willingly
chose to occupy homes. . . . We do everything we can to prevent killing

But the article goes on to say that U.S. officials can't accurately determine the number of civilians killed and wounded. Afghan witnesses place the number much higher than U.S. estimates.

Witnesses have told Afghan journalists that the number of dead and wounded was
far higher than the number cited by Khalid and that the air attacks took place
in more than one village. U.S. officials said they were assessing the damage and
could not confirm the number of dead or wounded civilians.

We've lost control of Afghanistan and Iraq, it's only going to get worse and it's about time to leave.

Dan Blumenthal is a resident fellow in Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute. In other words, he propounds government policies that will be advantageous for big business.

In this WaPo article, he lays out the Chinese military buildup pretty well. But he shows his true colors at the end when he concludes that the only way to counter it. is by throwing more money at the defense contractors.

A stronger commitment by the Pentagon to developing long-range surveillance and
strike capabilities would make Beijing less confident that it could use its vast
territory as a sanctuary for its missile and other "disruptive" forces.
Upgrading our undersea warfare capabilities will improve our regional freedom of

Democrat takes on Democrat in California's 36th Congressional District. Will it be new Democrat or S.O.S.?

Idealism versus realism? In the argument about the meaning of being a
Democrat in 2006, nothing is so charged as one's choice of words and language.
Both of these candidates are "progressives," as they describe themselves. Both
agree on equal rights for gays and lesbians, both support abortion rights, both
emphasize environmental protection. Indeed, both pretty much agree on what's
important in this primary, wherein the victor becomes the odds-on favorite in
the November finale.

They part, however, on the essential question of how Democrats should
confront U.S. engagement in Iraq.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Cheney on Hot Seat, Zinmeister S.O.S., The V.A. and Anti-Terrorism Doing Great, Book Banning and Stephen Colbert & Tom Delay.

Dick Cheney will probably be called to testify in the Scooter Libby trial next year. Cheney's lawyers say he won't. So you can expect to see Cheney testifying.

Fitzgerald, in contrast, has sought to build a case that Libby was preoccupied
with the task of rebutting Wilson's July 2003 column, which accused the White
House of twisting intelligence to support its invasion of Iraq -- and that this
preoccupation stemmed from Cheney's own intense focus on Wilson's assertions.

Bush shows that things aren't going to change by appointing Karl Zinsmeister a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a right wing septic tank. Zinsmeister a rabid Iraq War proponent without even a passing acquaintance with reality will become Bush's new Domestic Policy Advisor. I doubt if he will have any more of a clue about domestic policy than he does about Iraq.

"What the establishment media covering Iraq have utterly failed to make clear
today is this central reality: With the exception of periodic flare-ups in
isolated corners, our struggle in Iraq as warfare is over," Zinsmeister wrote in
his column last June. "Egregious acts of terror will continue -- in Iraq as in
many other parts of the world. But there is now no chance whatever of the U.S.
losing this critical guerrilla war."

"No chance whatever", clueless in the White House.

It's been known for five years that the Veterans Administration's information security is anything but secure. The Republicans running the government have known this, but since the only service these guys want the veterans to receive is the lip service they give them, nothing has been done.

Veterans brimmed with shock and anger yesterday at the loss of their personal
data by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but in many ways the information
security breach should not have come as a surprise.

Despite the monumental screw up, the President, on cue, expressed confidence in the V.A. Secretary.

White House press secretary Tony Snow said Bush had "full faith and confidence"
in Nicholson.

How much faith and confidence do you have in these reality challenged Republicans?

They are so pathetic that they are now using the prosecution of Al Queda wannabe Zacarias Moussaoui as an example of their great anti-terrorism record. I'm telling ya, they think we're stupid.

Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, in a speech at the conservative
American Enterprise Institute in Washington, said the Justice Department has
"developed a strong record of success in the war against terrorism" -- citing
prosecutions against admitted al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and other
defendants around the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In Illinois, district 214 school board member Leslie Pinney wants to remove nine books from the required reading list in high schools. Although she hasn't read all (or any?) of them, she said the books contain vulgar language, brutal imagery or depictions of sexual situations inappropriate for students. Conservative groups are crawling out of the woodwork to support her suppression of literature

Keep them ignorant all their lives and they might become President. We know it has happened before.

A bid to remove nine books from the required-reading list of the second-largest
high school district in Illinois has triggered debate over whether works praised
in literary circles are high art or smut.The issue arose this month when
Township High School District 214 board member

Leslie Pinney flagged
books that she said contain vulgar language, brutal imagery or depictions of
sexual situations inappropriate for students.

"If the media are
bombarding our children with explicit sexual images and graphic violence and
prolific profanity, can't a school relent from that?" Pinney said. "Is there a
different level of standards? That's my question."

Just another example of the hypocritical, personal responsibility right wanting the government to be their nanny.

And it's just too good to be true. Texas crook Tom DeLay's legal defense fund sent out a mass email criticizing an anti-DeLay movie by Robert Greenwald. The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress

They are using an interview by Stephen Colbert to prove their point. I told you Republicans are clueless.

DeLay thinks Colbert is so persuasive, he's now featuring the full video of
the interview at the top of the legal
fund's website
. And why not? According to the email, Greenwald crashed and
under the pressure of Colbert's hard-hitting questions, like Who
hates America more, you or Michael Moore?

Apparently the people at DeLay's legal fund think that Colbert is actually
a conservative. Or maybe they're just that desperate for supporters.

Neocons and Iraq, Stem Cell Politics, We're Ready!, Takin' Care of Business, China Looms, Twits, Christian Brass and Al Gore.

If you've ever wondered what neocons are or what influence they had in the decision to invade Iraq. WaPo's Harold Meyerson explains it all in For Neocons, the Irony of Iraq.

The sharpest irony was their stunning indifference to the need for civic order.
When the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, said that the occupation would
require many hundreds of thousands of troops to establish and maintain the
peace, he was publicly rebuked by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the
administration's foremost neocon, and quickly put out to pasture. When the first
U.S. official to take charge in post-invasion-Iraq, Jay Garner, called for a
massive effort to train Iraq's police and restore order, he was summarily
dismissed. When looting far more widespread than anything the United States had
ever known swept Iraq's cities after Hussein's fall, Don Rumsfeld shrugged and
said, "Stuff happens" -- a two-word death sentence for the possibility of a
livable Iraq.

A year ago the ultra-right House passed legislation to loosen Bush's restrictions on stem cell research. So we've make all kinds of progress in the last year, right? Well no, it seems that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. who wants to run for President, is afraid to bring it up in the Senate. Why? Because as a Republican he can't afford to alienate those in his party whose sole purpose is to impose their particular interpretation of the Bible on the rest of us.

The legislation, which Bush has repeatedly threatened to veto, would allow the
National Institutes of Health to fund research on human embryos slated for
destruction at fertility clinics. It is backed by science and patient-advocacy
groups, and was endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) last
summer, when momentum behind the research was at a peak.

But the political calculus around stem cells has changed in unexpected ways
since then, raising questions about how Frist can fulfill his promises to bring
the bill to a vote without weakening his appeal to conservatives as he considers
a 2008 presidential run.

When you hear,

U.S. disaster-preparedness officials declared
themselves ready
yesterday for the June 1 onset of hurricane season,...

You know you'd better have a plan to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

The House isn't happy with the Senate's immigration bill. And now they're fighting among themselves over how to change it. One thing most of them agree on is that the root of the problem will be able to do business as usual.

Senators also rejected an amendment, by Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), that would
have toughened penalties for labor-law violations involving immigrants, but they
approved one by Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) that would grant employers "an
affirmative defense against criminal liability" if they follow certain protocols
in hiring immigrants who prove to be illegal.

Another consequence of the right's experiment of wars, tax cuts, outsourcing, and high debts is that China is using our money to build a military that's equal to or better than ours. And most of you thought you could trust Republicans on National Security.

China's military buildup is increasingly aimed at projecting power far beyond
its shores into the western Pacific to be able to interdict U.S. aircraft
carriers and other nations' military forces, according to a Pentagon report
released yesterday that outlines continued concerns over China's rising
strategic influence in Asia.

These guys make big money to get it wrong.

Rush Limbaugh, Don Imus, and Tucker Carlson touted a report by Matt Drudge
claiming that according to "sources," Democratic National Committee (DNC)
chairman Howard Dean had authorized a secret effort to aid Louisiana Lt. Gov.
Mitch Landrieu in his attempt to unseat incumbent New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin
-- even after Drudge issued an apparent retraction.

Proving that all Christians are not incapable of independent thought, a group of clergy and lay persons are fighting the proposed Constitutional ban on same sex marriages. Right on.

WASHINGTON, May 22 — An interfaith coalition of clergy members and lay leaders
announced a petition drive on Monday aimed at blocking a proposed constitutional
amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Exxon spokesman compares Al Gore to Joseph Goebbels. These petroleum suckers and that includes the Bush Administration, are just a freak show. From

Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis,
an organization that has received over $390,000 from
ExxonMobil since 1998
. This afternoon on Fox, Burnett compared watching Al
Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth,
to watching a movie by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels to learn
about Nazi Germany.