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    11 June 2005

    White House propagandist quits

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    bushCo. oilman, Philip Cooney, quits as Council on Environmental Quality chief. As posted earlier in the week, Mr. Cooney was a big part of the anti-air Bush administration. He was a lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute. He is a lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has had no scientific training.
    Philip Cooney, the council’s chief of staff and a former energy industry lobbyist, resigned on Friday, two days after The New York Times reported he edited some descriptions of climate research in a way that cast doubt on links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures.

    White House spokeswoman Dana Perino confirmed Cooney had resigned from the council but said it was unrelated to the Times story.

    “Mr. Cooney has long been considering his options following four years of service in the administration,” she said. “He had accumulated four weeks of leave and decided to resign and take the summer off to spend time with his family.”

    Yeah, right...

    US Forces detaine and abous ex-Marine contractor in Iraq

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    A detainee's allegations

    Raiche said guards intimidated the detainees with dogs, made them strip and told them to wear towels over their heads going to the restroom, so insurgents in the facility would not recognize and harm them, Raiche said.

    One of his colleagues was slammed to the ground by a guard, he said.

    "His head bounced off the asphalt." Raiche said. "He told me he heard one guard say to another, `If he moves, let the dog loose."'

    Raiche said his colleague told him that a guard then reached down and "squeezed his testicles so hard he could barely move."

    When Raiche first arrived at the facility, he said a guard ordered him to the ground and put a knee in his back. He said he heard one Marine say, "How does it feel now making that big contractor money?"

    Raiche said the Marines handcuffed them with "zip lock ties." When the detainees complained they were so tight they were losing circulation in their hands, they were cursed at and told to shut up, Raiche said.

    I think it is time for a reassessment of our detainee policies and maybe a look at a Rummy resignation.

    10 June 2005

    US General admits the truth, bushCo. rhetoric debunked

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    US General admits the truth, bushCo. Panglossian rhetoric debunked

    bushC. has been lying, recently Bush and Cheney have mentioned how well the occupation of Iraq is going. Saying that the resistance/insurgency in it’s "last throes".

    Enter, Major General Joseph Taluto of the US Military.

    He makes the painful admission that he can understand why Iraqis would attack the US and the coalition. He continues
    General Taluto also admitted he did not know how many insurgents there were. "I stay away from numbers how can I quantify this? We can make estimates by doing some kind of guesswork," he said.

    "I think there is a small core of foreign fighters. I don't know how big that is but there is some kind of capability here, and it's being replenished.

    "Then there is a group of former regime personnel they're the facilitators. They make all the communications, move the money, they enable things to happen. Their goal isn't the same as the foreign fighters but they're using them to do what they want to do.

    "Then we have the foot soldiers. Some are doing it for the money. Some are doing it because they're offended by our presence and believe we are a threat to their way of life. There are various levels."

    He added: "Who knows how big these networks are, or how widespread? I know it's substantial enough to be a threat to the government and it will be for some time."

    General Taluto said "99.9 per cent" of those captured fighting the US were Iraqis, but was also adamant most people in Iraq wanted a free, democratic and independent country.

    He predicted attacks would continue to surge in intensity, as key milestones were reached, including the upcoming constitutional referendum.

    Welcome to Iraq, freedom is on the march. Right into the Gulf.

    09 June 2005

    The "up or down" vote... Remember that

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    Repubs. say, "Dems delay Bolton. Waaaahh."

    "Obstruction, !"

    But now what is that Senate up to...

    Confirming bushCo. appointees?

    Nope exactly the opposite
    Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) has placed a "hold" on President Bush's nomination of Julie Finley....

    Because she is pro-choice. What is her position in the Bush administration? She is up for ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    The Senate is out of control.

    What has Dr. Frist have to say?
    "Are we going to step back from that principle?" the Tennessee Republican asked reporters. "The answer to that is 'no.'"

    Out of control. It is a good thing we, those in the tent of the Democratic Party, have a leader like Harry Reid.

    Reid to Bush,
    "No document, no Bolton." Bitch.

    Out of the House comes the counter-punch, the Downing Street Minutes.

    Without delay I must give a huge Thank You! to John Conyers, Jr (read this!). He's on the offensive and ready to fight for the country we all remember. He has taken the lead and generated 300k signatures in two weeks. He is a house judiciary committee member and in the position to advance with the document.
    Congressman John Conyers:

    On Thursday, June 16, 2005, a week from today, I will be holding a hearing with my Democratic colleagues to begin to hear evidence about the DSM. We will have a number of witnesses, including Joe Wilson, who frequent readers here already know is a WMD expert and former Ambassador; Ray McGovern, a 27-year CIA analyst; Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq; and John Bonifaz, a renowned Constitutional attorney. At the conclusion of the hearing, we will go to Lafayette Park and I will personally deliver your signatures to the White House.

    This hearing is just one step in an investigation that I am commencing that will literally span the Atlantic. I am in touch with British officials and former U.S. intelligence officials and I am determined to get to the truth.

    At the hearing, I will disclose information found to date, which includes the public release of newly discovered documents. While none of these documents are as damning as the DSM, they nonetheless bolster the accuracy of it.

    'Fire' is destructive. But something, in the master's house, is set.

    Phase two, http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/. Please Join.

    The impeachment of Bush

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    Dkos diarist makemefree points out an excerpt from Dan Froomkin's (WaPo) White House Briefing blog that Mr. Bush has more to worry about than the Downing Street Minutes.
    But even if the memo doesn't detonate, there are suddenly several other potential scandals sputtering away in the press today to cause the White House worry.

    · The New York Times is reporting that a White House official with ties to the oil industry repeatedly edited government climate reports to play down global warming issues.

    · The Guardian reports on new State Department documents suggesting that Bush's decision not to sign the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil.

    · The Texas Observer and the Associated Press are reporting that two Indian tribes working with Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist now under criminal and congressional investigation, paid $25,000 each to a conservative tax-exempt group to underwrite an event that got tribal leaders a private meeting with President Bush.

    note: I think we should lay off this a little as dems have a part in this as well according to some bipartisian blogs I frequent. Not as big by any means but still... the spin, the spin.

    · And The Washington Post reports that senators are asking for more information about the involvement of White House officials in pushing for a $30 billion air-tanker deal now considered the most significant military contracting abuses in several decades.

    All this comes as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll shows a slew of sinking numbers for Bush, including a dramatic loss of support on his ace-in-the-hole issue, the war on terror. And the public has apparently concluded that the war in Iraq was not worth it and has not made the United States safer.

    To complement this, Stirling Newbery has a Diary up on dKos on the history of presidential impeachments. Read it in whole here. But in one of the first comments he sums it up for another reader
    1844 Democrat replaced Whig, Whigs lose congress
    A Johnson
    1868 Republicans replaced Unionist Democrat, Republicans hold Congress
    1896 Republican replaced Democrat, Republicans hold Congress
    1932 Democrat Replaced Republican, Democrats hold House, and take Senate
    1976 Democrat replaced Republican, Democrats hold Congress
    1988 Republicans hold (the only one!), Democrats hold Congress
    GHW Bush
    1992 Democrats replace Republican, Democrats hold Congress
    2000 Republicans replace Democrat, Republicans hold Congress

    That is of the 9 times charges have been filed, 8 times the party in power has fallen from power. And in 9 of the 8, the party pushing impeachment has held congress. That means that 7 of 9 the legislative party won a total victory, and in 1 out of 9 got a partial victory. Only Tyler was a complete wash out - because it was a party civil war.

    08 June 2005

    Media revising the Downing Street Minutes questioning

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    The so-called liberal media attempts to rewrite history, and gets caught by the Raw Story.
    The AP transcript says the reporter asked a question which included the phrase, "intelligence and facts remain fixed" around the policy of removing Saddam Hussein. The official White House transcript and audio file confirmed by RAW STORY found that the reporter in fact had said "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action."

    The incorrect AP copy distributed to the papers was:
    Q: Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called "Downing Street Memo" from July 2002, says, "Intelligence and facts remain fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military actions." Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

    BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations.

    The official White House / Milbank account stated correctly:
    Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

    PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations.

    Small difference, but why???

    Can't link to it enough, the Downing Street Minutes

    More White House propaganda

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    This time it is through scientists and the rewriting of findings to fit the views of bushCo. A White House official, Philip A. Cooney, has repeatedly edited government climate reports, attempting to play down the effects that our addiction to fossil fuels has had on the world (global warming). While the verdict is still out on the level our oil consumption has had on global warming, It is hard to think that it isn't 50% of the problem, that is a generous figure. I know that anything from sea floor gasses and volcanoes can damage the environment in a similar fashion. These, while large scale, are limited. Pollution from fossil fuels is perpetual and growing, with little advancement in countermeasures being made by the Bush administration, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world.

    More from the story
    A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.

    In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved.

    Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues. Before coming to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training.

    No scientific training. bushCo. cares only for money, not for the future. Your children and their children. He speaks of God and it is he who sends so many to visit Him. In one way or another.

    The alterations are sometimes as subtle as the insertion of an adjective, but cause a clear shift in the meaning of the documents.

    For example, a sentence in an October 2002 draft of a regularly published summary of government climate research, "Our Changing Planet," originally read: "Many scientific observations indicate that the Earth is undergoing a period of relatively rapid change...."

    Mr. Cooney's neat, compact notes modified the sentence to read: "Many scientific observations point to the conclusion that the Earth may be undergoing a period of relatively rapid change...."

    In places where uncertainties in climate research were described, Mr. Cooney added qualifiers like "significant" and "fundamental."

    Another document showing the same pattern of changes is the 2003 Strategic Plan for the United States Climate Change Science Program, a thick report describing the reorganization of government climate research that was requested by Mr. Bush in his first speech on the issue, in June 2001.

    That document was reviewed by an expert panel assembled in 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists largely endorsed the administration's research plan, but they warned that the administration's procedures for vetting reports on climate could result in excessive political interference with science.

    Now it appeared that some interference was happening even before the research had gotten into full swing, said Dr. William H. Schlesinger, who was on the review committee and is dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.

    After some of Mr. Cooney's changes to the drafts were described to Dr. Schlesinger by The New York Times, he said several seemed "egregious."

    "They're trying to throw enough uncertainty in so that either policymakers or the public would not want to take a firm stand on it," he said.

    Downing Street coverage, finally

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    Note: Sorry about the formating, but there is a lot of links here and I just cut-n-pasted(?) the links into the post. This approach never works well, but it works and I am lazy.

    From a Ga10 Diary
    The Philadelphia Daily News prints an opinion piece calling the media "indifferent" and comparing the DSM case to Watergate.

    The Palm Beach Post has an opinion piece detailing the DSM as Bolton's latest problem. In Alaska, they're saying the document is prime reason for Sen. Murkowski to vote against him..

    The Boston Globe printed an article and straight excerpts from the DSM.

    The Gazette reports that Sen. Feingold is pissed and will ask Blair about the document when they meet.

    More Coverage: The Dallas Morning News, The Philadelphia Inquirer,
    The Washinton Times, The Houston Cronicle, The Detroit Free Press, The Houston Chronicle, and Knight Ridder also carried the story, along with dozens of other papers as well.

    Where Bush has lied us.

    (Remember, the document is a transcription of the minutes of a British Prime Minister's meeting on July 23, 2002—a full eight months PRIOR to the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003.)

    Bush: "Of course, I haven’t made up my mind we’re going to war with Iraq." [10/1/02]

    Bush: "Hopefully, we can do this peacefully – don’t get me wrong. And if the world were to collectively come together to do so, and to put pressure on Saddam Hussein and convince him to disarm, there’s a chance he may decide to do that. And war is not my first choice, don’t – it’s my last choice." [11/7/02]

    Bush: "This is our attempt to work with the world community to create peace. And the best way for peace is for Mr. Saddam Hussein to disarm. It’s up to him to make his decision." [12/4/02]

    Bush: "You said we’re headed to war in Iraq – I don’t know why you say that. I hope we’re not headed to war in Iraq. I’m the person who gets to decide, not you. I hope this can be done peacefully." [12/31/02]

    Bush: "First of all, you know, I’m hopeful we won’t have to go war, and let’s leave it at that." [1/2/03]

    Bush: "But Saddam Hussein is – he’s treated the demands of the world as a joke up to now, and it was his choice to make. He’s the person who gets to decide war and peace." [2/7/03]

    "I’ve not made up our mind about military action. Hopefully, this can be done peacefully.” [3/6/03]

    "I want to remind you that it’s his choice to make as to whether or not we go to war. It’s Saddam’s choice. He’s the person that can make the choice of war and peace." [3/6/03]

    "We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force." [3/8/03]

    Bush: "Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it." [3/17/03]

    Visit Downing Street Memo for all the info you could want re; this document, even the dubunking of typical Repub ignorance.

    06 June 2005

    Diane Monson will defy the ruling

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    Raich, who suffers from scoliosis, a brain tumor, chronic nausea and other conditions, will defy the ruling and likely be arrested. Good for her, I hope her state stands up to Federal bullies. Bastards.
    "I'm going to have to be prepared to be arrested," said Diane Monson, who smokes marijuana several times a day to relieve back pain.
    "I'm way disappointed. There are so many people that need cannabis," Monson said.

    Spoken like a true stoner.

    But really, the real fight are the upcoming bipartisan

    * Rohrabacher-Hinchey Amend.
    * "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act"

    These should get underway shortly.

    Supreme Court strikes down state rights, 6 to 3

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    Looking for the dissenting opinion presently

    In a dissent, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said that states should be allowed to set their own rules.

    “The states’ core police powers have always included authority to define criminal law and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their citizens,” said O’Connor, who was joined by two other states’ rights advocates: Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas.

    The legal question presented a dilemma for the court’s conservatives, who have pushed to broaden states’ rights in recent years, invalidating federal laws dealing with gun possession near schools and violence against women on the grounds the activity was too local to justify federal intrusion.

    O’Connor said she would have opposed California’s medical marijuana law if she was a voter or a legislator. But she said the court was overreaching to endorse “making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use.”

    .pdf of the decision here.

    Religious craziness is strong in America

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    Like no other country in the modern westernized world, America has the highest rate or religious devotion. We also have no problem with mixing politics and faith; this is apparent with the high level of exposure the American Taliban in the past 5 years.
    Religious devotion sets the United States apart from some of its closest allies. Americans profess unquestioning belief in God and are far more willing to mix faith and politics than people in other countries, AP-Ipsos polling found.


    Only Mexicans come close to Americans in embracing faith, the poll found. But unlike Americans, Mexicans strongly object to clergy lobbying lawmakers, in line with the nation's historical opposition to church influence.

    "In the United States, you have an abundance of religions trying to motivate Americans to greater involvement," said Roger Finke, a sociologist at Penn State University. "It's one thing that makes a tremendous difference here."

    70% of Americans and 80% of Mexicans "Know God really exists [...] and have no doubts about it." While Canada is at 43%, Italy is at 53% and the U.K. came in at 23% when asked the same question.

    Well that is scary, and a monumental change in the principals established by our founding fathers. I was born into a country vastly different than the country I now see day to day. Unfortunately it gets worse according to the same article.
    Nearly all U.S. respondents said faith is important to them and only 2 percent said they do not believe in God. Almost 40 percent said religious leaders should try to sway policymakers, notably higher than in other countries.

    "Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian policies and religious leaders have an obligation to speak out on public policy, otherwise they're wimps," said David Black, a retiree from Osborne, Pa., who agreed to be interviewed after he was polled.

    Wimps! Unbelievable, no it is actually believable and scary.

    When compared to the French we are a religious state; French population overwhelmingly agree (85%) that there should be no "clergy activism". Australians are at 50%, while 2/3 of South Korean and Canadian populations said "religion is central to their lives". But in difference with the new American trend all three countries oppose the mixing of faith and politics, strongly.

    Why is this happening? I think it is a combination of the effects of 11 September 2001 and the use of religion by conservative politicians. Real researchers say:
    Researchers disagree over why people in the United States have such a different religious outlook, said Brent Nelsen, an expert in politics and religion at Furman University in South Carolina.

    Some say rejecting religion is a natural response to modernization and consider the United States a strange exception to the trend. Others say Europe is the anomaly; people in modernized countries inevitably return to religion because they yearn for tradition, according to the theory.

    Some analysts, like Finke [Penn State Univ.], use a business model. According to his theory, a long history of religious freedom in the United States created a greater supply of worship options than in other countries, and that proliferation inspired wider observance. Some European countries still subsidize churches, in effect regulating or limiting religious options, Finke said.

    Some cited history:
    Many countries other than the United States have been through bloody religious conflict that contributes to their suspicion of giving clergy any say in policy.

    A variety of factors contribute to the sentiment about separating religion and politics.

    "In Germany, they have a Christian Democratic Party, and they talk about Christian values, but they don't talk about them in quite the same way that we do," Nelsen said. "For them, the Christian part of the Christian values are held privately and it's not that acceptable to bring those out into the open."

    In Spain, where the government subsidizes the Catholic Church, and in Germany, which is split between Catholics and Protestants, people are about evenly divided over whether they consider faith important. The results are almost identical in Britain, whose state church, the Church of England, is struggling to fill pews.

    Italians are the only European exception in the poll. Eighty percent said religion is significant to them and just over half said they unquestioningly believe in God.

    But even in Italy, home to the Catholic Church, resistance to religious engagement in politics is evident. Only three in 10 think the clergy should try to influence government decisions; a lower percentage in Spain, Germany and England said the same.

    But as I said above, in the U.S.,
    some of the most pressing policy issues involve complex moral questions — such as gay marriage, abortion and stem cell research — that understandably draw religious leaders into public debate, said John Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron.

    The poll found Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to think clergy should try to influence government decisions — a sign of the challenges ahead for Democrats as they attempt to reach out to more religious voters.

    "Rightly or wrongly, Republicans tend to perceive religion as, quote-unquote, `on their side,'" Green said.

    (I got my first degree from the Univ. of Akron)

    More trends are covered noting that women are more devout than men and the old more devout than the young.

    Polling info; 10000 adults, 1000 each in 10 countries, with a MoE of +/-3%.

    Full results here.

    Commenting here and here.


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