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    17 December 2005

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    - The idea of democracy in the Middle East always struck me as odd idea for neocons and Repubs, in a way it is hypocritical. On one hand we force democracy on Iraqis and threaten theocracies with open elections in Iran. Meanwhile we empower leaders who would never be elected in a democracy. We are seeing this in Lebanon, Egypt, and Palestine. In the end Iraq will be a theocratic state, not as aggressive as Saddam’s Iraq but definitely not secular or western. Col. Lang goes into this more with an experts touch.

    - The Presidents display of authoritarian power (unapproved domestic spying) calls into question whether McCain's anti-Torture Bill (a very weak bill) and the pending end to the most extreme and undermining aspects of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. A.C.T. matter at all. If the president wants to do it he will. With the way people let him get away with it there is no doubt in my mind he will continue to torture and violate the constitution in the name of protecting the people. Again, what a joke. A horrible, horrible joke.

    From Atrios, CNN:
    JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, good afternoon.

    Who cares about whether the Patriot Act gets renewed? Want to abuse our civil liberties? Just do it.

    Who cares about the Geneva Conventions. Want to torture prisoners? Just do it.

    Who cares about rules concerning the identity of CIA agents. Want to reveal the name of a covert operative? Just do it.

    Who cares about whether the intelligence concerning WMDs is accurate. Want to invade Iraq? Just do it.

    Who cares about qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court. Want to nominate a personal friend with no qualifications? Just do it.

    And the latest outrage, which I read about in "The New York Times" this morning, who cares about needing a court order to eavesdrop on American citizens. Want to wiretap their phone conversations? Just do it. What a joke. A very cruel, very sad joke.

    Here's the question. Was it appropriate for the president to order wiretaps on American citizens without obtaining a warrant?...

    BLITZER: All right. And they can just do that. Right, Jack?

    CAFFERTY: That's correct. Just do it.

    - Why did the NYT wait so long to publish its story on Bush's authoritarianism? Tell me why NYT is always called a liberal rag? They new this around the time of the election but they held it, why?

    - Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. may be a Republican.

    - Delay continues to fight Earle rather than provide information that signals him as innocent. The Repubs were waiting for word from the Judge on whether the case will be heard now or later in hopes that they could bring 'the Hammer' back to leader of the House. That isn't the case. DeLay had told Republicans and their operatives that the hearing scheduled for 27 December would indicate which direction the case was headed, that hearing has been canceled. The next majority leader in the House will be decided after the State of the Union address.

    - Hypocrite Bush:
    George W. Bush on exit strategy 4/9/99:
    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

    And on the specific need for a timetable, here's what Bush said then and what he says now 6/5/99
    "I think it's also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn."
    (article originally ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 6/5/99)


    George W. Bush, 6/24/05:
    It doesn't make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you're; you're conceding too much to the enemy."

    - The President is planning to address the nation on Iraq Sunday evening (there's his first mistake). Perhaps he'd like to explain why spying on Americans is; one, not against the law, or two, acceptable. It would also be nice for him to end using the 'protecting the American people' line because it's BS. Assuming that the numbers in the NYT are acurate (they have not been denied), there are hundreds or thousands of potential al Qaeda operatives in America right now. There must because the government wouldn't blindly monitor someone right? I mean, he said he plans to continue the practice for "as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups," so unless he admits that America is crawling with terrorists Sunday he should shut his mouth and start explaining why he shouldn't be charged with a crime.

    posted by Geoff

    Saturday edition

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    - Bush secretly spied on Americans. This has been confirmed by officials and Bush himself. Bush was so proud of himself that he took and Arab and pulled their fingernails out and then anal rapped them while reading the bible. If he can do it to Americans he can do it to anyone.

    Bush approved this 13 dozen times since 11 September 2001
    "There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," declared Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He promised hearings early next year.

    Are the articles of impeachment on the horizon? I hope not, there is no viable alternative to Bush (Cheney, Hassert...) and an impeachment is a trauma for the country. That said, this is illegal and scary. Libertarians should be outraged.

    This morning Bush vowed to continue the unconstitutional policy.
    "This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.

    What a joke.

    - Again, sensing their power fading, the House Republicans have pushed another bill as a political stunt to ease the debate on the war on Iraq. Sleazy politics is all some Repubs know, it is detestable. I'm ashamed to have a House that acts the way it has under Republican leadership.

    - Bush called Iranian President "an odd guy." To which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replied 'death to America'.

    - Bob Novak, a horrible man, has been chased from CNN due to his potty mouth. Faux News picked him up immediately. Questions: Does the Faux News Channel need more Republican talking points? Can they still honestly claim that they're 'fair and balanced', should they ever have claimed that they're 'fair and balanced'? (Of course not, but this is America)

    - Rice made personal appeals to Congress Thursday (or Friday) to continue funding African peacekeepers in Sudan that will end in January. Good for her (seriously). The Senate has been behaving recently, but perhaps the House leadership should quit pushing fake legislation (Xmas protections and Iraq withdrawal bills) and act on something important to humanity and the real War on Terror; rather than the War on Terror for Oil or whatever Iraq was. This has more to do with winning the War on Terror(ism) than spying on Americans, activists groups, or Iraq (pre-invasion). For a solid background on the situation in Sudan see The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars.

    - The withdrawal continues in Iraq with Bulgaria leaving. They will be followed by Ukraine according to some.

    - All the pundits were commenting on how peaceful the election were, but failed to site that the insurgency had called for a cease-fire during the elections. This is good because the insurgency in developing a political front. However, the truce won't last. The leading Sunni political outfit thanked the insurgents for the truce.

    - Bush clarified (not really) his position on DeLay's innocence on PBS by stating that he was "innocent until proven otherwise". The only thing is he hasn't answered why he can comment on his friends innocence but not people in his administration guilty of treason. Bush is still a hypocrite.

    - A senior at Dartmouth was visited by the FBI for requesting a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's The Little Red Book. Being jealous I have requested, through ILL, a copy as well. Upon finding out about this Bush canceled all meetings and locked himself in his torture chamber adjacent to the oval office for some waterboarding and bible reading.

    - Exxon/Mobile have announced their blood for oil program:
    The New York Blood Center and Mobil have teamed up to
    offer a $5 gift card to people who donate blood between
    December 22nd and January 9th.

    Posted by Geoff

    16 December 2005

    In the world of corporate news

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    - [UPDATE] A reader posted this in the comments:
    I've got a report I did a few years ago
    regarding the NSA spying on us domestically.

    It includes a treatment of how they perform Internet email monitoring, by way of my describing how I monitored the emails of more than 7000 employees on Wall Street.


    - It is finally a fact in the main stream that Bush had intel different from the intel given to the Senate. This is the first of two contradictions by Mr. Bush today. This administration has repeatedly withheld information citing that full disclosure would have a "chilling effect on deliberations." So the whole truth isn't relevant anymore? I guess this will be justified with several references to al Qaeda.

    - It is claimed that Mr. Bush also authorized domestic espionage via a secret order in 2002.

    - Another Abramoff associate pleads guilty to fraud and conspiracy.

    - Hamas is gaining ground politically in Palestine. They join Hezbollah and the Muslim Brothers in Lebanon and Egypt.

    - Another GOP operative, James Tobin, was found guilty in NH on two counts of telephone harassment. He spent 2 hours jamming Democrats and the a local firefighter union phones during the 2002 elections. He should be found guilty of violating voters rights but we aren't perfect.

    - Bush has repeatedly refused to talk about the leaking of sensitive information citing an 'ongoing investigation.' However, he has no problem commenting on the fate of tom DeLay, adding that Delay helps him push his radical agenda. This the second contradiction for Bush, the hypocrite, today.

    Posted by Geoff

    Being excessively religious makes you a degenerate

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    Gregory Paul was written a paper (published by The Journal of Religion and Society) entitled Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies. Inside he concludes "can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today." In Paul's own words
    "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies. ... The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly."

    If I were this guy I'd lay low for, well, a long time. These people may be warped and backward, but they also have a lot of free time and tend to act violently. To clear things up Paul states
    "In Western society, there are many, many secularized nations that are performing quite well socially. So that'’s the main conclusion ... What I'’ve done is I've falsified what I call the creationist social hypothesis, and I'’ve done that forever. You can never make the claim again that it's impossible to have a society that'’s non-religious that does well.

    Not satisified, the Right denonnced the paper as "communist" and written by a "1960'’s leftover freakoid." They maintain that it isn't intellectually sound. However, experts have concluded that the paper is fair but state that the Right has a point which no one can come up with.
    Strictly speaking -— and that is the only way academics speak - Paul'’s study marshals reasonable data that credibly demonstrates, under its terms, that the United States is the most faithful of the 18 Western democracies it studies. It furthermore demonstrates that it scores at or near the bottom of a variety of indicators of social dysfunction, including homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, teen pregnancy and abortion.

    Posted by Geoff

    15 December 2005


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    Iraqi security forces caught the most wanted man in the country last year, but released him because they didn't know who he was, the Iraqi deputy minister of interior said Thursday.

    Hussain Kamal confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- the al Qaeda in Iraq leader who has a $25 million bounty on his head -- was in custody at some point last year, but he wouldn't provide further details. (link)

    Well somebody missed out.

    Posted by Geoff

    Henry Brown votes for torture

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    My Congressperson in the House, Henry Brown, just went on record with 121 other Republicans in support of torture. Particurly this language:
    HR 2863 PP SEC. 8154

    (a) IN GENERAL.--No person in the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense or under detention in a Department of Defense facility shall be subject to any treatment or technique of interrogation not authorized by and listed in the United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation.
    (b) APPLICABILITY.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to with respect to any person in the custody or under the effective control of the Department of Defense pursuant to a criminal law or immigration law of the United States.
    (c) CONSTRUCTION.--Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the rights under the United States Constitution of any person in the custody or under the physical jurisdiction of the United States.

    SEC. 8155


    (a) IN GENERAL --No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
    (b) CONSTRUCTION --Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under this section.
    (c) LIMITATION ON SUPERSEDURE --The provisions of this section shall not be superseded, except by a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act which specifically repeals, modifies, or supersedes the provisions of this section.
    (d) CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT DEFINED --In this section, the term "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment" means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.

    Full roll call here. Link to contact Mr. Brown (email or writehenrybrown@mail.house.gov).

    Fortunately this passed 308 to 122 (one Dem voted with the torturers Republicans)

    Posted by Geoff

    Bush's Victory

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    "Victory will be achieved," he said yesterday, "by meeting certain clear objectives -- when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can protect their own people, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot attacks against our country."

    This tells us two things:
    1) We're going to be in Iraq for a long time, even with democracy,

    2) We should be in a handful of other states if this is the logic of Bush in his War on Terror(ism) or spreading of democracy or whatever it is that he's doing.

    It tells me that we need to search for other avenues to address or problems internationally; 'Shock and Awe' is inefficient and unsustainable.

    Posted by Geoff

    14 December 2005

    Bush knows who the leaker is

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    At least Robert Novak says he does.
    Newspaper columnist Robert Novak is still not naming his source in the Valerie Plame affair, but he says he is pretty sure the name is no mystery to President Bush.

    "I'm confident the president knows who the source is," Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh on Tuesday. "I'd be amazed if he doesn't."

    "So I say, 'Don't bug me. Don't bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is.' "

    Well Mr. President, who is it? You sure it's not Rove? Or would you like to wait until the next set of indictments come out?

    Posted by Geoff

    13 December 2005

    1000 days of war

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    One thousand days ago today, our country mistakenly (deliberately) attacked Iraq preventively (it was not preemptive! Look it up.). Since then a lot has changed: The mission was accomplished... but then it wasn't. The rational has taken several forms, all but one being even remotely accurate. We fought Saddam's (so called 'threatening') forces, followed by the Shiite's, now the Sunni's, and most likely in the coming days/months/years the warring Sunni's, Shiite's and Kurd's as the last diplomat, Marine, mercenary, and freelance Haliburton truck driver is freed from the failed policies derived by the AEI, ingrained in the PNAC and embraced as the theoretical doctrine of neo-conservatives nationwide. (note: Imagine if the House Republicans had passed their immediate withdrawal plan last month. Yeah I typed that right. The Repubs!).
    As the war, that was supposed to protect the U.S. and its allies in the Middle East, gains us undenialable and unacceptable results in Amman, London, Saudi Arabia, Istanbul, et cetera... perhaps we should at some numbers (link)
    $204.4 billion: The cost to the U.S of the war so far.

    2,339: Allied troops killed

    15,955: US troops wounded in action

    98: U.K troops killed

    30,000 : Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

    0: Number of WMDs found

    66: Journalists killed in Iraq.

    63: Journalists killed during Vietnam war

    8: per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

    53,470: Iraqi insurgents killed

    67: per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

    $343: Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

    5: foreign civilians kidnapped per month

    47: per cent Iraqis who never have enough electricity

    20: casualties per month from unexploded mines

    25-40: per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

    251: Foreigners kidnapped

    70: per cent of Iraqi's whose sewage system rarely works

    183,000: British and American troops are still in action in Iraq.

    13,000: from other nations

    90: Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov '05. In Jun '03: 8

    60-80: per cent Iraqis who are "strongly opposed" to presence of coalition troops

    and no end in site... just corners. The final winner? Iran.

    [UPDATE] 5 years ago today the Supreme Court briefly interrupted our democracy by handing the Presidency over to Bush. Then the American "Reichstag Fire" of 11 September 2001, and then...

    12 December 2005

    Torture = Bush’s legacy

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    Slowly but surely, the horrors of 11 September are being replaced by the administrations addiction to torture; both directly and indirectly.

    The runner up is, of course, corruption. This is number one if looking at both parties over the last five years.

    Posted by Geoff

    11 December 2005

    The Iraq al Qaeda connection

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    So most of us have accepted (or knew all along) that the Iraq-Saddam-al Qaeda link was a bunch of crap. Why so many believed that al Qaeda fundamentalist would be aligned with secular Middle East Dictators is beyond me. I'd say a slim majority now realize this POV is wrong, however it is still used as a reason for taking out Bashar Asad in Syria. Why they can't find a better reason is beyond me. Probably has something to do with hypocrisy; you can't go after Syria for 'X' when you support Egypt or Pakistan who also do 'X'. I won't go into specific reasons because, IMO, the rhetoric against Syria is way overrated and coming from the dark depths of AEI and their warmongering wing.

    Back to the 'connection'. It now looks like the idea of this connection; this 'rational for war'. Was so bogus that the Americans had to torture detainees in order to get them to talk in terms worthy of going to war over.
    The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and al-Qaida on detailed statements made by a prisoner in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

    The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and al-Qaida only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

    The new disclosure provides the first public evidence that bad intelligence on Iraq may have resulted partly from the administration's heavy reliance on third countries to carry out interrogations of al-Qaida members and others detained as part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The Bush administration used Libi's accounts as the basis for its prewar claims, now discredited, that ties between Iraq and al-Qaida included training in explosives and chemical weapons.

    Posted by Geoff


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