Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards, Geneva Conventions, Republicans and National Security, Chertoff's Insane, Iran Lies, Iraq, Afghanistan, Army Shortfalls and Campus Humor

Great American, Great Texan and Great Lady

We're going to miss Ann, she was one of the few Democrats with a working set of testicles. Ann didn't back down or roll over for anyone. A lot of us fell in love with her during her keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. This country is in dire need of more Democrats like Ann Richards.
And now to the other end of the spectrum.
Colin Powell is coming out against White House sponsored legislation to efforts to redefine a key provision of the Geneva Conventions. As proof of the White House wanting to redefine the Geneva Conventions, I offer you this:
The White House later denied that it was attempting to redefine the Geneva
Conventions provision, insisting instead that it simply wants to spell out in
U.S. law what is prohibited under the treaty and what is not.
From experience we should know that if the White House says it's not, it is.
Here's a link to the letter that Powell sent to McCain in an attempt to prevent Bush from taking us to third world, rogue nation status.
Republican leaders in congress are hard at work to try to do away with our Constitutional rights. Of course, they're telling us it's a matter of national security. And way too many of us are too uninformed not to believe them.
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.
The Republicans are so interested in national security that they beat down a Democratic attempt to put some teeth into national security legislation.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday rejected a Democratic attempt to attach dozens
of national security programs to legislation intended to protect seaports.
Three sorry excuses for Democrats voted with the Republicans and against the American people, Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. Surely there are some real Democrats in these states that could run for the Senate.
Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security done his part by making nonsensical arguments about falling into a terrorist plot to bankrupt us with national security. Yeah, like the Iraq War and Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy haven't already done that.
Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, seems
determined to outdo his commander in chief in ratcheting up fears of Al Qaeda
whenever he wants to score political points. This week, he raised the specter
that if the government starts too many expensive antiterrorism programs it could
further a plot by Osama bin Laden to “drive us crazy, into bankruptcy” through
overspending on homeland defense.

It was particularly ironic that Mr. Chertoff spun this
theory while he was fighting off a measure, up for a vote today, that would help
protect our ports against the threat that he himself deems most worrisome — a
nuclear explosion within our borders — without government spending.

In testifying before a Senate committee on Tuesday, Mr.
Chertoff flailed away at straw men of his own concoction. He warned darkly about
the dangers of trying to protect the country from “every conceivable threat” —
an idea no one has ever espoused. The issue has always been the need to set
priorities, and in that respect, Mr. Chertoff’s department has become a
laughingstock. It compiled one list of possible targets that included a petting
zoo and a popcorn factory while the government provided only a pittance for our
vulnerable subways.
Here's proof that Chertoff may actually be insane.
When it comes to prioritizing our antiterrorism spending, it’s
hard to understand what Mr. Chertoff dislikes about a measure, introduced by
Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, that would require that all cargo
containers headed for the United States be scanned at foreign ports to search
for a possible nuclear weapon. Mr. Chertoff, after all, put a nuclear bomb at
the top of his list of things to worry about, followed by a biological or
serious radiological attack. He also agreed that eventually, every container
should be screened abroad for radioactive material before it can be loaded into
a ship headed for this country.

But he balked at doing it now on the flimsy grounds that
some ports might not have enough room to install scanning devices without
slowing the flow of traffic and that some foreign
governments might not cooperate.
But when you get down to the meat of the problem and it shouldn't be a surprise, Republicans are more interested in corporate profits than national security.
When it comes to homeland security, the Bush administration has repeatedly
allowed corporate profits to trump safety. That seems to be the problem here,
just as it has been when it came to the chemical industry’s resistance to
reforms that would help protect against toxic disasters if terrorists ever
attacked their plants. Right now, a port security bill is pending in the Senate
that would establish three pilot programs overseas to test the feasibility of
scanning all containers. But Mr. Schumer is surely right that delay is dangerous
and unnecessary. Virtually all containers destined for the United States should
be scanned for nuclear or radiological weapons within the next four years. It is
not enough to scan the containers after their arrival here, the current
administration policy. That could be too late.
And since protecting corporate profit over the American public leaves plenty of time on their hands, Republicans are once again concocting lies in order to try to get us into yet another war with no purpose.
U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the
Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent
House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document
"outrageous and dishonest" and offering evidence to refute its central claims
The Bush Administration, the Republicans and some Democrats are so out of touch with reality that they want to start another war. Don't they have any idea of how the wars they've already started are going? These guys couldn't run a sno-cone stand, let alone a war.
As with all the other White House and Congress led endeavors, things in Iraq and Afghanistan are going from worse to worser.
The threat of a new front opening in Afghanistan's worsening insurgency comes as
NATO commanders try to persuade member states to send more soldiers and air
support immediately to battle the Taliban resurgence.
AlterNet provides us with a list of Bush's accomplishments in Iraq yesterday. The whole list is here.
BAGHDAD - A total of 60 unidentified bodies were found with
gunshot wounds in the head and most of them showed signs of torture in various
parts of Baghdad over the past day, an Interior Ministry official and police
sources said.

BAGHDAD - A car bomb targeting police guards at an
electricity substation in the Zayouna district of eastern Baghdad killed eight
people and wounded 19, police said.

BAGHDAD - A U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb which
blasted his vehicle late on Tuesday south of Baghdad, the military said in a

BAGHDAD - A bomb in a parked car in central Baghdad killed
14 people, including two policemen, and wounded 57. It targeted police vehicles
near the traffic police headquarters during the morning rush hour, police
sources said.

BAGHDAD - Two bystanders were killed and two wounded when
gunmen in four cars tried and failed to kidnap the owner of a currency exchange
shop in the Harthiya district of Baghdad, police said. The businessman was not
And to top it all off, Iraq has bled the U.S. Army white. I don't understand what these fools think they can use in another war.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Army's combat readiness has fallen to
levels not seen since the Vietnam War, undercutting its ability to sustain
deployments in
Iraq and Afghanistan
or to respond to conflicts elsewhere, opposition Democrats warned in a
The report attributed the slide to critical shortfalls in
equipment, which have made it more difficult for units back home to train with
the tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons it will fight with.

And finally the University of Virginia student newspaper has found out that humor is relevant. But, of all places, universities should be places for the free exchanges of different viewpoints. Besides the First Amendment is on their side.
Two cartoons that ran in a University of Virginia student
newspaper recently have sparked thousands of e-mails to the school and the paper
with complaints that they are offensive and blasphemous.

Third-year student Grant Woolard drew the comics for the
Cavalier Daily, one of which is called "Christ on a Cartesian Coordinate Plane,"
with a drawing of the X and Y axes over his figure on the cross. The other, "A
Nativity Ob-scene," is of Joseph and the Virgin Mary talking about a bumpy rash
she has, with her saying, "I swear, it was immaculately transmitted!"

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I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)