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    23 July 2005

    Soldiers unhappy

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    NYT has a story up for tomorrow discussing the “patriotism lite” that is coming from this country as far as acknowledgement of the simple fact that we are at war. The article mentions Charles Moskos, military sociologist, who claims that this denial is bipartisan
    "My terminology for it is 'patriotism lite,' and that's what we're experiencing now in both political parties. The political leaders are afraid to ask the public for any real sacrifice, which doesn't speak too highly of the citizenry."

    While I agree that politicians on both sides are in denial about the war on Iraq and are not acting like a political body with citizens in harms way; I hope to defend the Dems on this one. I do believe the Republicans have control of the Presidency and both houses of congress. Therefore, they have almost complete control of what sacrifices we as a nation make in a time of war. Democrats have made repeated attempts to fund veteran programs and congressional repubs have used their clout to stop any measure proposed by Dems. Most recently, the Bush administration disclosed that it had missed the required amount of funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $1 billion which
    ...angered Senate Republicans who have been voting down Democratic proposals to boost VA programs at significant political cost. Their votes have brought the wrath of the American Legion, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and other organizations down on the GOP.

    The usual rebuttal by partisans is that the Bush admin has increased funding every year since 2000; just as Clinton did before them. They might show you a graph like this...
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    The problem I have with the above graph is there is an obvious trend in the amount of funding year to year, and it doesn't have a large or distinct change after the transition year of 2000-2001 and especially after the war on Iraq began; I would have expected a significant change not a continuance of an exponential linear line curve with a slightly increased slope; based on projections in 2004 & 2005. I would hope that a war president would have realized that our current situation in Iraq, elsewhere, and any future wars are generating far more veterans and veterans in need of care from everything from combat injuries to psychological trauma; not to mention day to day needs for those able to escape Iraq unscathed.

    The initial article, here, mentions "that America is not a nation at war, but a nation with only its military at war." Again , this is true, day to day life continues. Unfortunately, nearly every day I write at my blog, read at Juan Cole and comment over at dKos about the life or death struggle experienced by our men and women daily in Iraq. But, for the first time in my life and in recent history we continue to cut taxes.
    ...neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions.

    Cutting taxes in a time of war is unheard of and makes no sense to me; but I don't claim to know how that works. A further claim of lack of sacrifice at home mentions there is no let up, rationing or large scale effort to gain independence from oil. But again there have been efforts to change this; in congress and on a local level, largely pursued by the progressive left. This past Friday, while stuck in traffic, I called out a couple in a Hummer with the usual yellow ribbon and a Bush-Cheney '04 on the bumper. I asked them what type of mpg they got and that the Saudis were very grateful. I mentioned the madrassas his dollars fund worldwide, he looked at me like I had switched to a different language. They then began spitting Repub talking points. It was truly disgusting.

    All this talk of wartime denial goes both ways but I want to imply that much of this falls squarely on the shoulders of the current leadership. Both parties should behave accordingly, but those in charge are in charge. It is hardly the Dems fault if the Repubs cater to the have more’s while sending the common citizen off to war. And when it comes to personal contributions, you can buy a sticker made in china and decrease the resale value of your automobile, or you can volunteer to bring you grandson/daughter home for a gruesome and unnecessary war.

    This is a good thing

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    You have to know what it is before you fight it; unless your using it to takeover the Mideast.
    World leaders are to consider the plan at their summit in September and, if approved, the definition could break the impasse over a comprehensive treaty against terrorism.

    The United States strongly supports such a treaty, which has been stalled for years over the question of what constitutes a terrorist. The debate has focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the argument that one nation’s terrorists are another’s freedom fighters.

    So the bombers in Egypt are terrorists, but are the bombers of police and army recruits in Iraq terrorists? I think they're insurgents that are attacking strategic targets carelessly.

    Factcheck flunks

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    I got an email from the Annenberg Political whatever that started like this
    The disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Wilson's identity has triggered a partisan blame game complete with distortions and misstatements by both sides. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said the agent's husband Joe Wilson falsely claimed Vice President Cheney authorized his trip to Africa – a claim Wilson never actually made. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate that the leak "put this agent’s life in jeopardy," a claim for which no evidence has surfaced.

    That is soooo wrong; to place an obvious lie against a claim that is likely true. Anyway, I bet if you looked at what Reid said it was in a context that went on, or previously stated that anyone she was connected to, associated with et cetera... was compromised and at risk. She would be included.

    But to say that her life wasn't put into jeopardy is BS anyway. Her entire life changed that day. She has spent the last few years hiding from the media and the RNC machine. Plus, if I lost a cool job like hers and got stuck behind a desk I would say 'hell yeah' my life has been jeopardized!

    They also never mentioned this was all for political gain or cover.

    Further down they have a small timeline, very basic. For a real timeline visit the Plame leak timeline.

    bushCo. is hiding something

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    I don't know what, but it is now clear that something is being hidden
    The White House on Thursday threatened to veto a massive Senate bill for $442 billion in next year's defense programs if it moves to regulate the
    Pentagon's treatment of detainees or sets up a commission to investigate operations at Guantanamo Bay prison and elsewhere.

    Here is a statement with my reactions in italics
    In a statement, the White House said such amendments would "interfere with the protection of Americans from terrorism by diverting resources from the war."well it is actions like torture that cause the resentment that brings people to the level of terrorism, isn't it?

    "If legislation is presented that would restrict the president's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice," the bill could be vetoed, the statement said."restrict the presidents authority", what gives the president the authority to run camps like this in a law vacuum? This is BS, your hiding something, see post below.

    Our President is torturing people!

    22 July 2005

    bushCo. suppresses Abu Ghraib pics/vids

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    After a long series of stalls, the Bush administration has missed its deadline for turning over pics and vids from Abu Ghraib, citing some BS law in the FOIA.
    Today, July 22, was the day the government was supposed to process and redact photographs and videos relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners held abroad. Raising new arguments on the eve of its deadline, the United States government refused to release the materials to the public. The photographs and videos were to be processed for eventual release as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations.

    "The government is raising newfound reasons for withholding records to which the public has an undeniable right," said Amrit Singh, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "Instead of releasing these records and holding officials accountable for detainee abuse, the government now seeks to shield itself from public scrutiny by filing these reasons in secret."

    In a letter filed at the eleventh hour, the Department of Defense claims that photographs and videos of abuse that the court had previously ordered redacted for future release "could result in harm to individuals" for reasons that will be set forth in a memorandum and three declarations that the Government will file under seal with the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.

    Under the government’s proposal, the documents explaining the government’s reasons for withholding the images of abuse will not be available to the public except in redacted form, and the photographs and videos may never be made public.

    These people, these REPUBLICANS, I hate 'em. They don't deserve America or life IMO.

    Center for Constitutional Rights

    Republican calls for impeachment

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    I know this is pandering for votes, but you have to give 'em credit when they do good...
    A Congressional candidate who wants to impeach President Bush insists he can win the Republican primary.

    Dennis Morrisseau, 62, of West Pawlet, plans to seek the Republican nomination to run for U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who plans a run for the U.S. Senate.

    A central part of his platform, Morrisseau said, will be bringing articles of impeachment against Bush.

    Hard to trust him, or any Republican...

    I'd vote for the Dem.

    Bloomberg's article

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    Here is the link I wrote about below.

    21 July 2005

    Rove + Libby = false testimony

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    Now that everyone has recovered from the use of a SCOTUS nomination as a diversionary publicity stunt to provide cover from the internal CIA leak, Rove will get front page play again. Rumor is that Bloomberg will release a story tonight indicating that both Rove and Libby "provided false testimony to the special prosecutor [and(?)] to a Washington-based grand jury." Also, a recent State Department memo indicated the Valerie Plame’s identity was secret, but it also indicates a possible connection to the State Department.

    Imagine if Powell got revenge for being played like a fool in front of the UN and the whole world. It is possible; Powell is not a neo-con and certainly not a partisan. Speculating even more; where has Bolton been? I’ve heard no chatter from the noise machine on him or his status. What’s in those NSA documents that the Senate Dems requested for the Bolton nomination and why are they still being denied access? If and when this breaks, tell your friends and grab the popcorn... Here's the link.

    Oh and BTW, nobody goes to the Supreme Court with Democratic votes while the White House stands accused of harboring traitors.

    New Plame/Rove info

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    Plame's Identity Marked As Secret
    A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

    Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post.

    10 June? That's fishy...
    The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

    Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

    Hurricane Season '05

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    We could be in for (at least) two storms at once in the Bahamas and the Gulf of Mexico this weekend and early next weekend...

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com
    You can see them developing, straddling Cuba.

    This is extremely unusual activity.

    Once again, bushCo. rewards friends

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    Just like Rummy, Tenet, and soon Rove will get Medals of Honor for, ...well F'n everything up... it is now clear that John Roberts was a big player in the FL recount which resulted in the appointment of Bush in 2000.

    London Mayor justifies suicide bombings

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    I have to agree. We have smart bombs, and so do they.
    "Given that the Palestinians don't have jet planes, don't have tanks, they only have their bodies to use as weapons," Livingstone told Sky News in an interview.

    "In an unfair balance, that's what people use," said Livingstone, who has often been strongly critical of Israel in the past.


    Livingstone said that Israel has "done horrendous things which border on crimes against humanity the way they have indiscriminately slaughtered men, women and children in the West Bank and Gaza for decades."

    Livingstone also said that he does not distinguish between members of Likud and Hamas, branding them "two sides of the same coin."

    "I think it is the Israelis who are leading the stubborn line," said Livingstone. "The Likud and Hamas members are two sides of the same coin. They need each other in order to attract support."

    "Each side emphasizes the extremism of the other in order to attract sympathy," Livingstone said.


    I don't condone it, but if you were there I bet you would view things differently. The problem is that the Palestinians kill civilians and so do the Israelis.

    London under attack?

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    Tube cleared after minor blasts
    Dummy explosions using detonators only have sparked the evacuation of three Tube stations and the closure of three lines, a BBC correspondent has said.

    Police cordoned off large areas around Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush Tube stations.

    Doesn't sound serious, doesn't sound like al Qaeda.

    20 July 2005


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    ~1:275 scale model of the Horseshoe (Ohio State's stadium), built entirely with Legos.

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    Seating 140,000 lego women and men!

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    BTW, I made these * all by myself!

    (* = .jpg's)

    CIA to GOP - Stop It!

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    Sixfortyfive has a good diary up at dKos, but here is the short version. The CIA doesn't appreciate what bushCo did to them and is now protecting Wilson. So they wrote a letter.

    CIA Agents Letter to US Senate and House

    18 July 2005


    The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
    The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
    The Honorable Dr. William Frist, Majority Leader of the Senate
    The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader of the Senate

    We, the undersigned former U.S. intelligence officers are concerned with the tone and substance of the public debate over the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media, which exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame's name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

    The Republican National Committee has circulated talking points to supporters to use as part of a coordinated strategy to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. As part of this campaign a common theme is the idea that Ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame was not undercover and deserved no protection. The following are four recent examples of this "talking point":

    Michael Medved stated on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005, "And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day."

    Victoria Toensing stated on a Fox News program with John Gibson on July 12, 2005 that, "Well, they weren't taking affirmative measures to protect that identity. They gave her a desk job in Langley. You don't really have somebody deep undercover going back and forth to Langley, where people can see them."

    Ed Rodgers, Washington Lobbyist and former Republican official, said on July 13, 2005 on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, "And also I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don't think there's any meaningful investigation about that."

    House majority whip Roy Blunt (R, Mo), on Face the Nation, July 17, 2005, "It certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of top-secret definition on things longer than they needed to. You know, this was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day."

    These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who "work at a desk" in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

    While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation's security.

    We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation's leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

    We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.

    Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government's protection of their covert status.

    For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.

    Sincerely yours,
    Larry C. Johnson, former Analyst, CIA


    Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA
    Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA
    Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA
    Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA
    Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint Services, DIA
    Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA
    Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA
    Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA
    Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA
    Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA

    19 July 2005

    John Roberts - Wingnut

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    I checked into Bush's nominee quickly. Ladies, can you feel your rights slipping away?

    (no links I'm busy!)

    Roe v Wade

    "We continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled. ...the Court's conclusions in Roe that there is a fundamental right to an abortion and that government has no compelling interest in protecting prenatal human life throughout pregnancy find no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution."

    Environmental regulation.

    Roberts has taken positions against government environmental regulation. Roberts argued against the private citizen's right to sue the federal government for violations of environmental regulations.

    Roberts has also argued for the National Mining Association in support of mountaintop removal. Hopefully the Frist and TN constituency will voice their opinions on this matter, and well as VA, NC, et cetera...

    I ran across this earlier today and dug it up...

    Roberts concurred with the majority in upholding the arrest, handcuffing and detention of a 12-year-old girl for eating a single French fry inside a Washington Metro station. "No one is very happy about the events that led to this litigation," Roberts acknowledged in the decision, but he ruled that nothing the police did violated the girl's Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment rights.

    OK, here is one link from the Aliance for Justice

    My opinion is that this will be a fight and the rules of the Senate will be changed in order to end the filibuster; as I've maintained since the 'compromise'. This is the Dems fault, they have no principle. They could and should have stood up for the merits of the Constitution, the basic ideas of a bicameral legislature, and the essential rights necessary in a legitimate democracy that protects the majority from the tyranny of a majority; but they flinched, and now America (well at least half) will pay.

    This was obviously done in a hurry and to deflect the American public's outrage re: the leaking of a covert and operating CIA agent, and it will for now. Such a desperate move is comforting because this supports claims that Fitzgerald is seeking some major indictments over the leak case.

    18 July 2005

    Terrorist gets life

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    Ultra religious pro-life domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph was sentenced to life in prison today for the deadly bombing of a women's center. He is still to stand trial for the Atlanta city Olympic bombing. It is my understanding that he showed no emotion or remorse for his actions. He attempted to justify his actions as if someone's personal choices are subject to his approval. This man is a terrorist, not was he still is. He is no different than the London bombers, 3/11, 9/11, and the terrorists that are pouring into Iraq and contributing to the civil war by killing civilians who are doing nothing but living their lives. UBL, al Qaida, and even Americans like Eric Rudolph don't deserve any sense of freedom for the rest of their natural life. I hope that Mr. Rudolph doesn't get put to death, I want to hear him apologize.

    Troop withdrawal

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    I have often criticized the "out or Iraq" crowd for their beliefs regarding our occupation of Iraq. To these folks I would question their ‘plan’ by pointing the chaos that would ensue if US forces left the region. The truth is Iraq is in a state of chaos presently, even as we are their. The threat of an all out civil war is real, and people are beginning to accept it. The recent weekend violence was horrific and certainly had a large effect on my line of reasoning. While I am not going to endorse a complete withdrawal just yet, I think it is evident that our presence in Iraq isn't benefiting anyone. As I have maintained, the occupation of Iraq was a stupid plan that diverted resources from the real fight that we all support, the fight against al Qaeda and UbL. I don't get what is so hard to understand about this and it causes me to question, in the strongest sense, the motivation of my friends in the opposing political ‘trench’. Do the Republicans honor their party more than their country, truth, and human life worldwide? Has the Stars and Stripes been replaced by a red, white, and blue elephant? Unfortunately, I think so.


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