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    06 May 2005

    Are Democrats Causing Delays in Court?

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    Via factcheck.org

    Contrary to a pro-Bush TV ad, Republicans share the blame for "empty courtrooms," and delays are shorter now than they were before Bush.


    A multimillion-dollar ad campaign blames Democrats for the fact that "courtrooms sit empty." In fact, there are now half as many judicial vacancies as when Bush took office. And of the 46 federal judgeships that remain vacant, Bush has named only 16 replacements.

    The ad also says cases are being delayed in federal courts for "thousands of Americans." Actually, official statistics show cases typically being decided more quickly now than they were in 1999, when it was Republicans opposing Clinton's judicial nominees.

    Click for the full article

    Counter Spin

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    This will be quick. Labour lost. Blair, although he'll get a third term, lost.

    LibDems picked up 4%, Tories were flat, Labour lost 6%. Iraq was the key and it hurt Blair dispite aid from acress the Alantic. Labour is down 6% - to 36% the lowest percentage EVER for a majority party in the UK. By the way, I like Blair, I just think he got caught up in corruption with the bushCo. He'll be disposed of soon.


    Prime Minister Tony Blair secured an historic election triumph but a backlash over the Iraq war brought him to his knees, and may mark the beginning of the end for his rule, the world's press said.

    Though Blair won a place in history by taking the Labor Party to its third successive victory for the first time ever, his heir apparent, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, may take the spoils, papers said.

    "As the first results from constituencies around the country were declared in the early hours of this morning, it seemed certain that Tony Blair's retirement will come sooner than might have been expected and much sooner than he had presumed when he declared that this would be his final election," said Britain's conservative Daily Telegraph.

    Blair's so-called New Labour allies took the brunt of the opposition's advance, losing hard-won seats, the paper said in its Internet edition.

    "Labour's reduced majority will, therefore, greatly strengthen Gordon Brown's hand should he seek to force the pace of the handover of power that Mr Blair has conceded will occur before the next election."

    The left-leaning Guardian newspaper drew a similar conclusion, saying the flight of Labour voters brought Blair down to earth.

    "Iraq was not the only reason why these voters deserted Labour -- immigration, tuition fees and a host of other dissatisfactions also played strong parts in one of the most heterogeneous elections in memory -- but there is little doubt that historians will look back on the 2005 election as the Iraq election," the paper said in an editorial on the Internet.

    05 May 2005

    "a case for change, and even urgency"

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    The RAND Corp. is Gov't supported think tank, its work is usually well done although it was originally a part of the Gov't. It's now independent. Their latest report was presented to Rummy re: the occupation of Iraq.

    The first paragraph in Knight Ridder sums it up well:
    It isn't all that often that a think tank dependent on government contracts dares tell the emperor that he is naked, and that makes a recent Rand Corp. report to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on lessons learned in Iraq all the more remarkable.

    First, they criticize the "shock and awe campaign"
    The Rand researchers found that the "shock and awe" air attacks against the enemy leadership did not achieve the advertised objectives of "decapitating, isolating or breaking the will" of that leadership. They added that future operations should not be predicated on expectations of fast regime collapse through air attacks because of a host of limitations, some self-imposed to avoid civilian casualties.

    Second, It cautioned the idea of a slimed-down military, citing the benefits to the top tears while acknowledging the pressure and danger put on the lower-level ground forces.
    The study also cautioned the Pentagon to move very carefully as it shifts the Army to a family of lightly armored fighting vehicles heavily reliant on networked systems of intelligence information until such time as those fighting the war at lower levels have the wide-band satellite communications to access the information and trained personnel to interpret the images of what's waiting up ahead for a fast-moving tank column.

    Rand said that division commanders and above were well served by the increased situational awareness provided by aerial sensor aircraft and satellite coverage in Iraq, but lower-level commanders actually fighting the battles didn't get the specific intelligence needed in time to make use of it.

    Then they go after the planning of the invasion of Iraq:
    ...the Rand study sharply criticized the Pentagon for failure to plan in detail for postwar stabilization and reconstruction "largely because of the prevailing view that the task would not be difficult."

    In fact, the study said, it is highly likely that in future operations the United States and its allies will quickly defeat outmatched opponents but then spend "months or years winning the peace." The Rand researchers recommend that the planning process for future interventions be stood on its head and the military and civilian resources needed to secure the peace and launch reconstruction be given primary focus and priority in resources.

    Next RAND begins to ask for accountability from the leadership. Rummy, et al.
    The Rand study added, with understatement, "Some process for exposing senior officials to possibilities other than those being assumed in their planning also needs to be introduced."

    In a separate section the report criticized National Security Council and Department of Defense coordination for Iraq operations. It said the NSC focused on military operations and humanitarian aid, while postwar planning was handed to Rumsfeld and the Pentagon, and this approach "worked poorly."

    The report mentions that lack of care for the citizens of Iraq.
    The report said that no one bothered to provide for the security of the Iraqi people after Baghdad fell "given the expectations that the Iraqi government would remain largely intact, the Iraqi people would welcome the American presence, and local militia, police and the regular (Iraqi) army would be capable of providing law and order."

    In fact the burden of handling law and order in Iraq fell, by default, to U.S. and coalition military forces who were ill-prepared and unavailable in the numbers required to secure so unruly a nation and people.

    The Rand researchers said in the future the U.S. military cannot assume that someone else will take that responsibility - and American soldiers need to be trained and prepared to handle law-and-order missions as soon as they have toppled the enemy regime.

    The report added that "Iraq underscores ... the overwhelming organizational tendency within the U.S. military not to absorb historical lessons when planning and conducting counterinsurgency operations."

    It recommended that in the future American forces assigned to this duty should be composed of troops with training and skills similar to special operations forces - people who know the language and culture of the country and the vital importance of political, economic, intelligence, organizational and psychological dimensions in defeating an insurgency.

    I'm sure this report will quickly be added to the collection of similar critisims in the trash can in Rummy's office.

    04 May 2005

    Democrats, the other 'faith'

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    We are all aware of the pending problem with our Social Security program, and we are all aware of the presidents plan to privatize it. This is good; your president is entitled to informing the public and promoting his agenda. But when is too much? Most would think that a clause in the State of the Union, a prime time press conference, and/or a brief blurb every few days as he makes his rounds as the Commander and Chief would suffice.

    For the last two months Mr. Bush has traveled the country using tax payers money to promote his plan to save Social Security. At tax payer expense he has carefully choreographed set up staged a campaign of propaganda in order to force his agenda.

    Mr. Cheney is at it to, in Georgia Monday he invaded a High and held one of these staged events. I say staged because it is staged, every part of it. The crowd is all Repubs, carefully vetted Repubs that are fed questions from the administration. These town hall meetings are pure propaganda. They are held in order to get some Repub talking points framed in front of a cheering crowd, and aired on the echo chambers of the So-Called Liberal Media.

    I'd say that this has gone too far. One, because it is paid for with taxes. Two, because it is now being used as a megaphone to smear the opposition, to bring religion into the battle.

    Cheneys opening remarks on 2 May 2005 at said town hall meeting, emphasis mine:
    If we don't do anything at all, if we just stay where a lot of people have said we ought to stay -- there are a number of members of Congress of the other faith who have said that we don't need to do anything -- well, if you don't do anything, the net result will be, for somebody today, say, in their 30s, by the time they get to retirement age, their benefit levels are going to be cut some 26 percent or 27 percent. Automatic, that's what will happen with today's existing law.

    …of the other faith? How odd, well this is a one time thing right?
    Nope. I told you, this is all staged…

    Later, when the general public was allowed to ask the VP questions , emphasis mine:
    Q: Mr. Vice President, thank you for coming to Georgia, and thank you and the President for your leadership in the war on terror. Millions of Americans appreciate that.

    I just threw up on my keyboard. Continuing:
    My question is, I watched the press conference the other night with the President, and it seems like when the two of you come up with serious ideas that those from the other faith, in the other party, all they do is demonize and, in many cases, just lie and try to divide the older generation, our grandparents from us, those in our 30s.

    There it is again …the other faith. propaganda! A later questioner, emphasis mine:
    Q: Good morning, Vice President Cheney. I'd like to ask a question. This morning you've really delineated very well a lot of points in the program and what you and the President want to do. Could you delineate for us, because I think we have a little bit of an easy audience this morning on convincing us of this program -- could you delineate out a few other points from the other side, or the other faith, differences maybe in what you're saying this morning, and maybe what they're saying or not saying?

    Staged = Propaganda
    Rep. Henry Waxman in a letter to the GAO:
    In recent months, questions have been raised about the Administration’s use of taxpayer funds for propaganda purposes. Two GAO reports have found that the Administration violated the law by disseminating fabricated video news releases on Medicare and drug policy. Other investigative reports have revealed that taxpayer dollars have been spent to hire journalists to promote Administration initiatives, such as the contract with commentator Armstrong Williams to tout the No Child Left Behind Act. Another investigation revealed that TV news stations across the nation have — without disclosure to the public — aired countless video news reports fabricated by the Administration on topics from women in Afghanistan to the activities of the Department of Agriculture.

    Now serious questions are being raised about whether the Administration is inappropriately using federal resources to rally political support for his Social Security proposals.A report that I released in February presented evidence that the Social Security Administration, contrary to its history of nonpartisanship, has been systematically rewriting its communications to the public to build support for the President’s Social Security proposals.

    I don’t know about you, but this isn’t right. It wouldn’t be right if a Dem was doing it and it isn’t right now. I disagree, in the strongest sense of the word, with any part of any government that tries to force an agenda on me, especially at our expense.

    Kent State 5/4/1970

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    A day in our Government's history that should never be forgot.

    Juan Cole goes after Pat Robertson

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    After he claimed that Muslim Americans aren't fit to serve in the US Gov't, Jews can't serve in the Supreme Court, and equates ACLU with Communism.
    John Aravosis argues that Pat Robertson should be a political pariah after his remarks on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that Muslim Americans are not fit to serve in the US cabinet. It is actually much worse than that. Robertson also implied that Jews are unfit to serve on the Supreme Court because some of them defend the ACLU, which he equates with defending Communism. The anti-Jewish bigotry among some evangelicals that codes Jews as a "cultural elite" promoting non-Christian values just drips from his words. I give the relevant parts of the interview below.

    Too right, that Robertson should be a political pariah after this performance. I say we hold accountable every politician that shares a stage with him. I say we target the advertisers for his insidious television show for a nationwide boycott. I say we draw the line right here. In Robertson's warped little world, all Muslims are dangerous and all liberal Jews are proto-Communists. And if we don't speak out, his world is about to become our world.

    Robertson knows nothing about the Koran or Islam. He can cite some extremist medieval jurist such as Ibn Taymiyyah, but who couldn't come up with extreme statements by medieval Christian leaders? The Christians did give us the Inquisition, after all, not to mention the Crusades. As for Islam, here is what Koran 5:82 says about Christian-Muslim relations, after it describes tensions with pagans and Jews: "You will certainly find that the nearest in love to those who believe [the Muslims] are those who say: 'We are Christians.' This is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly." Somehow that one never gets quoted. "Nearest in love" is something we need to get back to.

    American Muslims are Americans. They have all the same rights and duties as all other Americans. Period. Likewise Jewish Americans. Robertson's religious bigotry flies directly in the face of Thomas Jefferson's thinking on religious liberty, which he dares sully by passing it through his bilious venomous lips.

    He goes on to quote Jefferson and Locke, It's a good read.

    Juan Cole

    02 May 2005

    Dems learning

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    The wording is everything. Something I learned form 1984. Well the Dems got the Repubs this time; if they go against it then they are against the truth and for citizen funded propaganda. So assuming it passes then we have a great result and if it is denied then the Repubs look like they are for propaganda. What am I talking about???

    S.967: Truth in Broadcasting

    On Thursday, 4/28/2005, Senators Lautenberg and Kerry introduced the Truth in Broadcasting Act.

    From the press release found on both Senators' websites:
    Today, United States Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and John F. Kerry (D-MA) introduced legislation to protect the American people from covert propaganda produced by the government. The legislation would require that "prepackaged news stories" produced by the Administration contain a disclosure of the source of the material. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has ruled that the Administration's use of "prepackaged news stories" was illegal "covert propaganda" because the government's role was not disclosed to viewers. On March 11th 2005, the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Justice issued memos to all executive branch agencies ordering them to ignore the GAO ruling and gave the green light to further use of fake news stories that hide the government's role in their production.

    The Lautenberg-Kerry Truth in Broadcasting Act would follow the legal ruling of the GAO and establish permanent federal law that prepackaged news stories by the government must disclose the government's role with a disclaimer. The disclaimer would run continuously throughout the "news story." Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens has committed to holding a hearing and a markup on the bill in early May. "Our government should not be in the business of fooling the public with fake news stories," said Lautenberg. "If President Bush wants to promote his views, he can do that, but he should not hide behind fake reporters to get his message out. The President already has the 'Bully Pulpit' -- he shouldn't need to use puppets pretending to be reporters."

    Jim DeMint is a member of the Commerce Committee He probably deserves to be contacted. Check and see if your Senator is on the committee and make a little noise.
    The up coming truth in Broadcasting Act is a necessary precaution to offset the indiscriminant use of propaganda for political gain invoked by the existing government. I expect you to support this act.

    Thank You,

    your name

    01 May 2005

    Monday heads up

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    It will be interesting to see the Italian perspective on the Nicola Calipari killing. link (scrip. only)
    On Saturday, the U.S. military released its report, contending the car Calipari was riding in as he headed to Baghdad airport with the ex-hostage didn't slow down at the checkpoint and that the American soldiers didn't do anything wrong.

    The two Italian experts who participated in the joint U.S-Italian probe of the shooting refused to sign off on the American's conclusions, and after several days of negotiations failed to yield a common final report. Both sides essentially agreed to disagree on the findings.

    "Despite, in fact, the many points on which the two sides registered similar assessments, the principal aspects on which it wasn't possible to pinpoint shared assessments regard, above all, the rules of engagement and the coordination with the competent authorities in Iraq," the ministry statement said.

    "All that will emerge clearly from the Italian report, being worked on, which will be made public on Monday," the ministry said.


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    U.S. sees drop in terrorist threats
    U.S. warns of possible N. Korea nuclear test
    Iran 'may resume' uranium project

    Hey WH I'm getting mixed signals...
    I can't tell if we should be scared or relieved...
    At least we have an enemy now, not a word.


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