Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Laughing as he almost runs the press over

With this enormous Caterpillar tractor: (link via Mock Paper Scissors)

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Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop. He gave reporters a thumbs-up. "If you've never driven a D-10, it's the coolest experience," Bush said afterward. Yeah, almost as much fun as seeing your life flash before your eyes.

Kinda like blowing up frogs and demanding do-overs, huh, Georgie?
I'm reminded of this post:

"First and foremost, George W. Bush is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What this means, mostly, is that he has rather desperate insecurities about himself, and compensates by constructing a grandiose self-image. Most of his relationships are either mirroring relationships--people who flatter him and reinforce his grandiosity--or idealized self-objects--people that he himself thinks alot of, and hence feels flattered by his association. Some likely perform both functions. Hence his weakness for sycophants like Harriet Miers, and powerful personalities like Dick Cheney.
And this post:
"...Gail Sheehy wrote an article for the {Vanity Fair} magazine about W. that made this point: “Even if he loses, his friends say, he doesn’t lose. He’ll just change the score, or change the rules, or make his opponent play until he can beat him.”"

Whaddaya gonna do, Mr. President?

Think Progress:
On Monday, NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams interviewed President Bush and asked him a question from Spec. Ryan Schmidt of Forest Lake, MN, who is serving in Iraq: “What if your plan for a troop surge to Baghdad does not work?”
Schmidt added, “For some of us that are over here, particularly me, my unit, we all feel, what’s the point of us being extended if your initial plan to send more troops over here does not work? What are you going to do, Mr. President?”

Think Progress has the audio link. Listen to the Commander-in-Chief speak. Now it's just painfully embarrassing.

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Grapeseed oil

Doesn't prevent the tazers from working. Besides, that stuff is expensive!

AP reports on the Democratic 'Massive Spending Bill'

Oh gee, it turns out that it's the budget the Republicans refused to pass last year....


The Associated Press just published a story about a "massive spending bill" those wild tax and spend Democrats are about to debate, you know, since they just love to spend our money.

Only problem? While that's what the title and first paragraph of the story imply, that's not what the story is about. In fact, the story is about how the Democrats are finally going to pass the budget that the Republicans refused to pass LAST YEAR - the budget that already went into effect last October.

So, the reason the spending bill is "massive" is because it takes all the budget bills that the Republicans failed to pass last year and lumps them into one big bill. So, yes, strictly speaking, it's a "massive" bill (because it's one bill, instead of the 13 separate bills (or so) that Congress normally passes to deal with appropriations). But by reading the AP headline, and the first paragraph, you get the impression that the Dems are feeding into their "big spender" stereotype, when in fact, they're not.

I don't think AP did this on purpose in order to slam the Dems. But I do think they did this on purpose in order to have a sensational headline and first paragraph. And putting aside the merits of sensationalism, you don't do it when it ends up misleading, and that is what it's doing.

Just a reminder, Georgie,

You are not my Commander-in-Chief. You are unfortunately Commander-in-Chief of the military, but not of private citizens. Just in case you haven't looked at the Constitution lately.

In fact, I don't view you as a valid president either but one who has stolen elections. But that is another issue.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, slapping all those little preznitial seals all over the place does not make you look presidential. It makes you look silly.

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If they insist on calling us the Democrat party

They need to be called Republican Americans.

Because they are fast becoming a minority and we need a label for them.....

Update: Speaking of marginalizing the extreme fringes of society....

Obama freezing out Fox News? DailyKos:
This is how you deal with Fox propaganda. You marginalize them.

Update: skippy the bush kangaroo lists all the conservative movements that are now dead. What remains? What do the Republicans stand for now?

Write clearly

So the FBI can understand it. Don't want the IM from the babysitter to be mistranslated as you exclaim over the amount found in the diaper..... could be taken as code, you know....

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what's legally permissible.

Call it the vacuum-cleaner approach. It's employed when police have obtained a court order and an Internet service provider can't "isolate the particular person or IP address" because of technical constraints, says Paul Ohm, a former trial attorney at the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. (An Internet Protocol address is a series of digits that can identify an individual computer.)

That kind of full-pipe surveillance can record all Internet traffic, including Web browsing--or, optionally, only certain subsets such as all e-mail messages flowing through the network. Interception typically takes place inside an Internet provider's network at the junction point of a router or network switch.

(link via Mustang Bobby)

You can't leave the Army!

You're too dumb to live in the real world!

Those military recruiters might want to rethink their strategy.... note how many soldiers indicated they were planning on leaving the service.

(via Vanity Press)

Update: to counterbalance, a soldier's journal.

Sent deliberately into harm's way and no one is listening

Taylor Marsh gets emails from soldiers and their families. Here's a stunner:

First, I want to thank you for doing what you do and voicing your opinion when it may not have been popular. I am writing to you as I have come across your website in researching Iraq. My fiance is a Blackhawk pilot currently serving in Iraq. He is not a Bush supporter nor a Republican, rather a West Point grad who is serving his time until he can get out of the Army. Recently, whenever we talk the discussion always leads to death. He is convinced that the leadership there (and in D.C.) is so horrible that he is put into harms way even more than necessary, considering he is already in danger by simply being in Iraq. If the weather conditions are poor, and this is brought to the commanders attention, the soldiers are called "pussies" and told to get out there. Our government tells me to write a letter expressing my concerns to the politicians. I have received a generic response from Clinton and none from Rep Jim Walsh or from Schumer. As my fiance says, everyone supports the troops, but no one is willing to bring them home. I want to know who will listen to our concerns? Who is going to take responsibility for taking my fiance away from me for a year and putting his life in danger?

Thank You,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Senator Webb is not playing by the rules

You know... the rules that Bush and Cheney worked so hard to set up where the Senate and the House can have as many earmarks and special projects as they want with a three day work week, raises once a year, and no vetoes ...just so long as they don't step out of line and demand the White House be accountable for anything....

Apparently Senator Webb did not get the memo:

Dear Secretary Rice:

During your appearance before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on January 11, 2007, I asked you a question pertaining to the administration’s policy regarding possible military action against Iran. I asked, “Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without congressional approval?”

At that time you were loath to discuss questions of presidential authority, but you committed to provide a written answer. Since I have not yet received a reply, the purpose of this letter is to reiterate my interest in your response.

This is, basically, a “yes” or “no” question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy. Remarks made by members of this administration strongly suggest that the administration wrongly believes that the 2002 joint resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq can be applied in other instances, such as in the case of Iran. I, as well as the American people, would benefit by fully understanding the administration’s unequivocal response.

I would appreciate your expeditious reply and look forward to discussing this issue with you in the near future.


James Webb
United States Senator

After 9/11, Bush told us to go shopping




End the War in Iraq


Impeach Bush and Cheney

Of the 100 largest economic entities in the world, more than half are transnational corporations. Wal-Mart is larger, in economic terms, than 182 countries. After 9/11 Bush told us that the best thing was to quietly go shopping. We can collectively say no to being quiet and say no to shopping. It is time for Americans take a one-week break, from Tax Day April 15 to April 22, and stop all corporate shopping, delay major purchases, stay out of shopping malls, and avoid national chain stores. People of conscience, let's send a message to corporate America and Congress to end the war in Iraq and move forward immediately on the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.

National Boycott Committee: Dennis Loo, Peter Phillips, Dahr Jamail, Larry Everest, Mary Lia, Lew Brown, Bridget Thornton, Mickey Huff, Michael Nagler, Andy Roth, Camelia Gannon, Liane Casten, Myrna Goodman

Do you wonder about the news that has been overlooked, under-reported, or self-censored?

These people take note.

"Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism." Walter Cronkite

About them:

Project Censored is a media research group out of Sonoma State University which tracks the news published in independent journals and newsletters. From these, Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the country's major national news media.

Between 700 and 1000 stories are submitted to Project Censored each year from journalists, scholars, librarians, and concerned citizens around the world. With the help of more than 200 Sonoma State University faculty, students, and community members, Project Censored reviews the story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The university community selects 25 stories to submit to the Project Censored panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Current or previous national judges include: Noam Chomsky, Susan Faludi, George Gerbner, Sut Jhally , Frances Moore Lappe, Norman Solomon, Michael Parenti, Herbert I. Schiller, Barbara Seaman, Erna Smith, Mike Wallace and Howard Zinn. All 25 stories are featured in the yearbook, Censored: The News That Didn't Make the News.

In 1996 and 1997, the yearbook won the Firecracker Alternative Book Award, celebrating the best in alternative publishing. The release of Project Censored's yearbook has developed into a national alternative press event. In 2003, along with several independent national magazines, over 40 alternative newsweeklies carried the Top 10 Censored stories in metropolitan areas throughout the country, and Project Censored was featured on more than 125 independent talk radio and television shows. Throughout the next year and into the next decade, Project Censored will continue to inform the public, advocate for independent journalism, and strive to spark debate on current issues involving media monopoly.

Project Censored is a national research effort launched in 1976 by Dr. Carl Jensen, professor emeritus of Communications Studies at Sonoma State University . Upon Jensen's retirement in 1996, leadership of the project was passed to associate professor of sociology and media research specialist, Dr. Peter Phillips.

Here are the top 25 censored stories of 2007.

Here are the two professors being interviewed about their work by Aljazeera:

The Great Undoing

The Bush administration, peopled as it is with ex-Nixon/Ford staffers, has done a wonderful play-by-play of Watergate. It isn't the crime, it's the cover-up that gets you.
Mustang Bobby:
For those of us who remember Watergate, it wasn't the "third-rate burglary" that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. It wasn't even the hush money paid to the burglars or the dirty tricks planned at the hands of G. Gordon Liddy in order to undermine the Democrats in the 1972 election. It was the cover-up that did them all in; the lying to the FBI, lying to Congress, and the obstruction of justice in the investigations that did it. The initial incident was nothing compared to the attempt to kill the result.

The same is true here. The leak of Valerie Plame's name, as odious and craven as it was in the attempt by the Bush administration to get back at someone for embarrassing the White House for calling them out on the infamous sixteen words, turns out to have been an inadvertant slip of the tongue by Richard Armitage, an innocuous public servant who, as far as anyone can tell, had no political motives when he did it. He just plain goofed. But given the paranoia and revenge-filled mindset of this White House, led by a president who can never make mistakes and enabled by willing toadys like Karl Rove within and the right-wing orcosphere without, it is not surprising that suspicion immediately fell on the higher-ups like Rove, Cheney, and even the president himself.
For a front row seat at the Great Undoing of the Glorious Neocon Rule, go to Firedoglake for the liveblogging of the Libby Trial.

They just can't stop, can they?

The top ten.

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Does anybody reading this live near a levee?

You might want to find out what condition it's in.

From First Draft:
The Army Corps of Engineers has identified 146 levees in the US that "pose an unacceptable risk of failing in a major flood."

But they aren't going to tell you which 146:
Spokesman Pete Pierce says the corps does not want to release the list of the 146 places where levees have been identified as inadequate until all levees are inspected and all communities with faulty levees are notified. USA TODAY has filed a request for that list under the Freedom of Information Act.
I'd suggest getting one of those inflatable raft things....

Will they ever tell us the actual truth?

And not these modifications and variations? (my bold)
BAGHDAD, Jan. 29 —Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed, American and Iraqi officials said Monday.

They said American ground troops — and not just air support as reported Sunday — were mobilized to help the Iraqi soldiers, who appeared to have dangerously underestimated the strength of the militia, which calls itself the Soldiers of Heaven and had amassed hundreds of heavily armed fighters.

Iraqi government officials said the group apparently was preparing to storm Najaf, a holy city dear to Shiite Islam, occupy the sacred Imam Ali mosque and assassinate the religious hierarchy there, including the revered leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, during a Shiite holiday when many pilgrims visit.

Scientists warn the world

With the climate change report:

PARIS, Jan. 29 — Scientists from across the world gathered Monday to hammer out the final details of an authoritative report on climate change that is expected to project centuries of rising temperatures and sea levels unless there are curbs in emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.

Among the findings in recent drafts:

¶The Arctic Ocean could largely be devoid of sea ice during summer later in the century.

¶Europe’s Mediterranean shores could become barely habitable in summers, while the Alps could shift from snowy winter destinations to summer havens from the heat.

¶Growing seasons in temperate regions will expand, while droughts are likely to ravage further the semiarid regions of Africa and southern Asia.

“Concerns about climate change and public awareness on the subject are at an all-time high,” the chairman of the panel, Rajendra Pachauri, told delegates on Monday.


“We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation and suffering,” said John Holdren, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an energy and climate expert at Harvard. “We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required and the less suffering there will be.”

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The silencing of free speech

could occur along with the courtmartial of Lt. Ehren Watada. Two reporters are supoenaed to take the stand as well.

(fixed grammar)

Concrete gives off greenhouse gases?

I had no idea it's responsible for 5% of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions:

Scientists studying the nanostructure of concrete said a change in the process used to create the widely-used material could significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.

Tests conducted by a team of engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered the secret to cement's strength lay not in its ingredients, but in how its smallest particles are arranged.

"If everything depends on the organizational structure of the nanoparticles that make up concrete, rather than on the material itself, we can conceivably replace it with a material that has concrete's other characteristics — strength, durability, mass availability and low cost — but does not release so much CO2 into the atmosphere during manufacture," said Franz-Josef Ulm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at MIT.

Waxman focuses on the White House's silencing of scientists

The Democratic chairman of a House panel examining the government's response to climate change said Tuesday there is evidence that senior Bush administration officials sought repeatedly "to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming."

"The committee isn't trying to obtain state secrets or documents that could affect our immediate national security," said Waxman, opening the hearing. "We are simply seeking answers to whether the White House's political staff is inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists."

"We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger," Waxman said.

Update 1/31: Think Progress has more:

A new report presented to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project shows 435 instances in which the Bush administration interfered into the global warming work of government scientists over the past five years. Some other findings of the survey:

46 percent of government scientists “personally experienced pressure to eliminate the words ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ or other similar terms from a variety of communications.”

46 percent “perceived or personally experienced new or unusual administrative requirements that impair climate-related work.”

38 percent “perceived or personally experienced the disappearance or unusual delay of websites, reports, or other science-based materials relating to climate.”

25 percent “perceived or personally experienced situations in which scientists have actively objected to, resigned from, or removed themselves from a project because of pressure to change scientific findings.”

James Hansen, the government’s top global warming researcher, has also revealed that the Bush administration tried to prevent him from speaking freely about global warming to the media. In 2004, the administration also had a requirement that “NASA press officers listened in whenever NASA scientists spoke with reporters, either on the telephone or in person.”

So can she sue the medical supervisor for child support if she becomes pregnant?

Rape victim jailed and denied the 'Morning After Pill':

"They were more interested in prosecuting her for something that's a paperwork snafu from four years ago, that was juvenile. They were more interested in working on that than finding an experienced rapist," stated the victim's mother.

Still, the woman was put in handcuffs and taken to jail. She was not allowed bond, and the medical staff at the jail refused to give her the Morning After Pill even though it had been prescribed at the hospital.

"The medical supervisor would not allow her to take the pill because she said it was against her, the supervisor's, religion. So, here we have a medical supervisor imposing her beliefs on a rape victim," claimed the victim's attorney Virlyn Moore. "As a human being, how someone could be so violated by this monster and then the system comes along and rapes her again psychologically and emotionally - it's outrageous and unconscionable."

Somebody's gone to the library

And actually read the Constitution:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war.

"I would suggest respectfully to the president that he is not the sole decider," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said during a hearing on Congress' war powers amid an increasingly harsh debate over Iraq war policy. "The decider is a shared and joint responsibility," Specter said.

The question of whether to use its power over the government's purse strings to force an end to the war in Iraq, and under what conditions, is among the issues faced by the newly empowered Democratic majority in Congress, and even some of the president's political allies as well.


"The Constitution makes Congress a coequal branch of government. It's time we start acting like it," said Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who is chairing a hearing Tuesday on Congress' war powers and forwarding legislation to eventually prohibit funding for the deployment of troops to Iraq.

His proposal, like many others designed to force an end to U.S. involvement in the bloody conflict, is far from having enough support even to come up for a vote on the Senate floor.

Closer to that threshold is a nonbinding resolution declaring that Bush's proposal to send 21,500 more troops to Baghdad and Anbar province is "not in the national interest." The Senate could take up that measure early next month.

But some senators, complaining that the resolution is symbolic, are forwarding tougher bills.

Update: Glenn Greenwald lists a few quotes from Republicans when they were protesting Clinton maintaining troops into Somalia, and declaring that Congress had such the right to remove them.

When Bill Clinton was President, most of the country's leading Republicans did not seem to have any problem at all with Congressional "interference" in the President's decisions to deploy troops (really to maintain troop deployments, since President Bush 41 first deployed in Somalia). There wasn't any talk back then (at least from them) about the burden of "535 Commanders-in-Chief" or "Congressional incursions" into the President's constitutional warmaking authority. They debated restrictions that ought to be legislatively imposed on President Clinton's military deployments and then imposed them.

And Sen. McCain in particular made arguments in favor of Congressionally-mandated withdraw that are patently applicable to Iraq today. And he specifically argued with regard to forcible troop withdrawal that "responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States." The Constitution hasn't changed since 1993, so I wonder what has prompted such a fundamental shift in Republican views on the proper role of Congressional war powers.

Tell me when I should be worried

Because I don't think they sell umbrellas strong enough...

Tampa, FL (AHN) - A mysterious 18-inch ice chunk fell from the sky and crushed the upper portion of a car belonging to a man from Florida. The roof of the Ford Mustang, owned by Andre Ravage, 20, was crushed down to its seats on Sunday.

Ravage's neighbor Raymond Rodriguez was changing a tire when the strange chunk fell from the sky. "I was scared," AP quotes Rodriguez as saying who was only a foot away. "It's crazy, man."

The Federal Aviation Administration is speculating if the chunk fell off from some plane's lavatory. However, the ice did not have a blue tint meaning it was not from a plane.

According to the National Weather Service, the conditions in Tampa are not suited for the formation of large balls of ice, known as megacryometeors. However, no one was hurt in the incident.

'Hobbit' race real

JAKARTA: The 18,000yr-old skull and other remains of a small hominid found in the island of Flores, Indonesia belong to a species new to science, researchers concluded after months of study.

Scientists belonging to the Florida State University had found the fossils in 2003, in a limestone cave on the Indonesian island. The find was labeled LB1 but nick-named 'Hobbit' because of its unusual features and likely resemblance to the dwarf-like creature from the J. R. R. Tolkien trilogy 'Lord of the Rings'.

The features had led the FU team to believe they had the remains of an as-yet-undiscovered human species. Other scientists argued that it was an ordinary ancient human who had probably suffered microcephalia – a rare pathological condition where the head is disproportionately small and usually accompanied by mental retardation.

Lead researcher and paleoneurologist Prof. Dean Falk said his team was now “absolutely convinced” that their find was indeed of a new human species. The scientists have labeled it as Homo Floresiensis

Now after more than two years of analysis, the team reverted to their first hypothesis that the remains belonged to a species new to science. In their study, the scientists analyzed several endocasts – computer-generated impressions of the brain structure taken from the hollow within the skulls. The endocasts included 19 of modern humans nine of whom were microcephalic; one belonged to a modern human dwarf of a similar height as LB1.

Join the troops

Stop the escalation.

Bush power grab

The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 — President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.

This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.

The White House said the executive order was not meant to rein in any one agency. But business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

More at Think Progress.

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Nobody says no to the boy king! Nobody!

Monday, January 29, 2007

For the NSA, FBI, CIA, and the rest of the alphabet

skippy the bush kangaroo likes "the government disclaimer that lambert puts at the bottom of all his emails":

(confidential to all us government personnel to whom this private letter is not addressed and who are reading it in the absence of a specific search warrant: you are violating the law and you are co-conspiring to subvert the constitution that you are sworn to defend.

you can either refuse to commit this crime, or you can expect to suffer criminal sanctions in the future, when constitutional government has been restored to the united states of america. i do not envy you for having to make this difficult choice, but i urge you to make it wisely.)

Jack Cafferty talks about the recent purge of prosecutors

And the appointing of Bush lackeys.

Microsoft's Vista had help from the NSA

Bruce Schneier:

It's called the "equities issue." Basically, the NSA has two roles: eavesdrop on their stuff, and protect our stuff. When both sides use the same stuff -- Windows Vista, for example -- the agency has to decide whether to exploit vulnerabilities to eavesdrop on their stuff or close the same vulnerabilities to protect our stuff. In its partnership with Microsoft, it could have decided to go either way: to deliberately introduce vulnerabilities that it could exploit, or deliberately harden the OS to protect its own interests.

A few years ago I was ready to believe the NSA recognized we're all safer with more secure general-purpose computers and networks, but in the post-9/11 take-the-gloves-off eavesdrop-on-everybody environment, I simply don't trust the NSA to do the right thing.

Which leads back to this post.

More bloggity goodness on Spocko

On the YouTubes.

Update: Spocko shows the letter where Borders indicates they have removed their ads. They were not aware their ads were on a political talk show:
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding a Borders advertisement that recently ran during the Brian Sussman show on Talk Radio KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco.

As a company, Borders is absolutely apolitical and as such, we do not purchase advertising time during shows with primarily political content. Although our media purchasing guidelines reflect this policy, sometimes errors are made or station scheduling changes. As we did not intend for our ads to run during the program mentioned and, in keeping with our stated guidelines, all remaining spots scheduled during the Brian Sussman show have been canceled.

Borders believes in the basic right of our customers to choose what they want to listen to, read and buy. Our stores provide our patrons with a wide selection of products, and an environment in which they can explore, discover and enjoy what is of interest to them.

Additionally, we strive to create an inviting atmosphere in our stores that supports varying beliefs and holiday celebrations for both our customers and our staffs. We specifically communicate to our employees that during the holiday season they should use any holiday greeting they feel is appropriate when interacting with customers.

Thank you again for sharing your concerns. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions or comments.

Like Spocko, I think I will go shopping at Borders....

This will put you off restaurant dining forever....

When you find out what is going on in the kitchen.

Animal terrorists attack again!

JUNEAU, Alaska -- About 10,000 Juneau residents briefly lost power after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines.

"You have to live in Alaska to have this kind of outage scenario," said Gayle Wood, an Alaska Electric Light & Power spokeswoman. "This is the story of the overly ambitious eagle who evidently found a deer head in the landfill."

The bird, weighed down by the deer head, apparently failed to clear the transmission lines, she said. A repair crew found the eagle dead, the deer head nearby.

The power was out for less than 45 minutes Sunday.

If you actually do respond to the spam about penis enlargement

This is what will happen.

Find yourself ... or your neighbors.... on the net

For free.



From this blog here.

If you want to see the shadow government Bush and Cheney have set up

Take a look at this interview with Jeremy Scahill about Blackwater mercenaries, the ties to Cheney, and the Christian right. Then tell me you aren't afraid they will turn this group against us.

More information connecting Blackwater with the Big Surge.

And with New Orleans.

Update: Review of a book by Robert Pelton on mercenaries 'Licensed to Kill':
It is an intended tribute to the author that very few people in the world could have written a book this witty and informative aside from him. That naturally raises the question: Just who is Robert Young Pelton? Originally from Canada, he moved to the US to make his fortune, which he did with enough success that one day he decided to get out of it and start traveling to the world's hot spots and war zones as a neutral observer and chronicler of the truth, which is never an easy thing to ascertain.

As an author Pelton is best known for his classic work The World's Most Dangerous Places, which is sort of an underground Fodor's guide to surviving war zones and other assorted mean, nasty and dangerous places, from Grozny to Baghdad.

But if Idema represents the pond-scum side of the private security world, the following chapter, which explores the creation of Executive Outcomes and Sandline, two private military firms that were prominent in the 1990s and helped propel the industry into public prominence, offers a fascinating look into that rarified world where high finance and venture capital, old boys' networks, multinational corporations, foreign policy, the legacies of colonial empires, and public relations intersect. It is surprising to realize what a small world it really is. It provides an invaluable perspective for better understanding an industry that is attempting to "find the sweet spot - the balance between naked aggression and passive peacekeeping - the neo-mercenary", as Pelton puts it.

"This is no way to run a covert policy." Drumheller

Bush and Cheney let loose the intelligence agencies and the military, planning to blame them for anything that went wrong. No stated policy means no fingers of blame.

Spiegel Online: (my bold)

Tyler Drumheller, 54, had a 25- year career working for the CIA. In 2001, he was promoted to become the American intelligence agency's chief of European operations. The spectacular kidnappings of suspected al- Qaida terrorists -- including the German- Syrian Mohammed Haydar Zammar and the German- Syrian Khaled el- Masri -- by CIA commandos happened under his watch. Drumheller, who retired in 2005, recently published his memoir, "On the Brink," in the United States.

The renditions program saw the kidnapping of suspected Islamist extremists to third countries. Were you involved in the program?

Drumheller: I would be lying if I said no. I have very complicated feelings about the whole issue. I do see the purpose of renditions, if they are carried out properly. Guys sitting around talking about carrying out attacks as they smoke their pipes in the comfort of a European capital tend to get put off the idea if they learn that a like-minded individual has been plucked out of safety and sent elsewhere to pay for his crimes.

SPIEGEL: We disagree. At the very least, you need to be certain that the targets of those renditions aren't innocent people.

Drumheller: It was Vice President Dick Cheney who talked about the "dark side" we have to turn on. When he spoke those words, he was articulating a policy that amounted to "go out and get them." His remarks were evidence of the underlying approach of the administration, which was basically to turn the military and the agency loose and let them pay for the consequences of any unfortunate -- or illegal -- occurences.

SPIEGEL: So there was no clear guidance of what is allowed in the so called "war on terrorism"?

Drumheller: Every responsible chief in the CIA knows that the more covert the action, the greater the need for a clear policy and a defined target. I once had to brief Condoleezza Rice on a rendition operation, and her chief concern was not whether it was the right thing to do, but what the president would think about it. I would have expected a big meeting, a debate about whether to proceed with the plan, a couple of hours of consideration of the pros and cons. We should have been talking about the value of the target, whether the threat he presented warranted such a potentially controversial intervention. This is no way to run a covert policy. If the White House wants to take extraordinary measures to win, it can't just let things go through without any discussion about their value and morality.

SPIEGEL: Perhaps the White House wanted to gloss over its own responsibility.

Drumheller: Let me give you a general thought: From the perspective of the White House, it was smart to blur the lines about what was acceptable and what was not in the war on terrorism. It meant that whenever someone was overzealous in some dark interrogation cell, President (George W.) Bush and his entourage could blame someone else. The rendition teams are drawn from paramilitary officers who are brave and colorful. They are the men who went into Baghdad before the bombs and into Afghanistan before the army. If they didn't do paramilitary actions for a living, they would probably be robbing banks. Perhaps the Bush Administration deliberately created a gray area on renditions.

SPIEGEL: The German government was convinced that "Curveball" would not be used in the now famous presentation that then US Secretary of State Colin Powell gave in 2003 before the United Nations Security Council.

Drumheller: I had assured my German friends that it wouldn't be in the speech. I really thought that I had put it to bed. I had warned the CIA deputy John McLaughlin that this case could be fabricated. The night before the speech, then CIA director George Tenet called me at home. I said: "Hey Boss, be careful with that German report. It's supposed to be taken out. There are a lot of problems with that." He said: "Yeah, yeah. Right. Dont worry about that."

SPIEGEL: But it turned out to be the centerpiece in Powell's presentation -- and nobody had told him about the doubts.

Drumheller: I turned on the TV in my office, and there it was. So the first thing I thought, having worked in the government all my life, was that we probably gave Powell the wrong speech. We checked our files and found out that they had just ignored it.

SPIEGEL: So the White House just ignored the fact that the whole story might have been untrue?

Drumheller: The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy. Right before the war, I said to a very senior CIA officer: "You guys must have something else," because you always think it's the CIA. "There is some secret thing I don`t know." He said: "No. But when we get to Baghdad, we are going to find warehouses full of stuff. Nobody is going to remember all of this."

Drumheller: We made mistakes. And it may suit the White House to have people believe in a black and white version of reality -- that it could have avoided the Iraq war if the CIA had only given it a true picture of Saddam's armaments. But the truth is that the White House believed what it wanted to believe. I have done very little in my life except go to school and work for the CIA. Intellectually I think I did everything I could. Emotionally you always think you should have something more.

Bush to Iran: I double dog dare ya!

Luckily for us we have mature, worldly diplomats working with Iran. Let us listen in:

Bush: Huh? Huh? Take that! Betcha don't care that we have battle ships mooning your coast! Huh? When I poke you like this, does it bother you? Huh? C'mon, big boy! Your mommy dresses you funny and you ... uh... smell bad!

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Deeply distrustful of Iran, President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens.

Bush's warning was the latest move in a bitter and more public standoff between the United States and Iran. The White House expressed skepticism about Iran's plans to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq. The United States has accused Iran of supporting terrorism in Iraq and supplying weapons to kill American forces.

"If Iran escalates its military actions in Iraq to the detriment of our troops and - or innocent Iraqi people, we will respond firmly," Bush said in an interview with National Public Radio.

The president's comments reinforced earlier statements from the White House.

Update: "America "Poised to Strike at Iran's Nuclear Sites" From Bases in Bulgaria and Romania":

President Bush is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of April and the US Air Force's new bases in Bulgaria and Romania would be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official report from Sofia.

"American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria and one at Romania's Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April," the Bulgarian news agency Novinite said.

The American build-up along the Black Sea, coupled with the recent positioning of two US aircraft carrier battle groups off the Straits of Hormuz, appears to indicate president Bush has run out of patience with Tehran's nuclear misrepresentation and non-compliance with the UN Security Council's resolution. President Ahmeninejad of Iran has further ratcheted up tension in the region by putting on show his newly purchased state of the art Russian TOR-Ml anti-missile defence system.

Whether the Bulgarian news report is a tactical feint or a strategic event is hard to gauge at this stage. But, in conjunction with the beefing up of America's Italian bases and the acquisition of anti-missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, the Balkan developments seem to indicate a new phase in Bush's global war on terror.

Everyone involved will need therapy

Peterborough, England (AHN) - A stray cat had his head stuck in a jar after he tried to pull a mouse out of a jam jar in Peterborough, England.

A motorist sought police assistance after finding the cat wandering beside a road, with the jar on its head and the mouse a few millimeters from its mouth.

Officers at the Thorpe Wood police station said the incident reminds them of the cartoon, the "Tom and Jerry show."

But, the three officers and one receptionist who responded to the call were not able to free the animal when they tried twisting its head from the jar. The cat eventually freed itself by smashing the jar on the floor.

A police spokeswoman said, "It was like a scene from 'Tom and Jerry.' I don't think anyone had ever seen anything like it before. The mouse ran off, it's still running around Thorpe Wood police station somewhere."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cheney is anti-democracy, anti-United States

Which is now obvious to everyone.

Talking Points Memo: (my bold)

This is not the first time I've seen a reporter denied information about who even works in the Office of the Vice President (I can't find where I've seen this refusal reported before, although I think it was about the time Cheney shot that Texas lawyer in the face; if anyone recalls, please forward me the link).

Think about that. The Vice President of the United States refuses to divulge who works in his office. Rozen's article provides an estimate of 88 persons on the VP's staff, which I take to mean that the OVP won't even say how many people are on staff. These are people on the public payroll. Wouldn't you say the public is entitled to know?

Most of the debate over the nexus between national security and official secrecy is about where to draw the line. That is, how to balance the necessity of openness and transparency in a democratic society with the need to protect important operational details of the nation's defense. I lean heavily toward transparency, but I will acknowledge that there is a legitimate question of where to draw that line.

But Cheney's policy of refusing to reveal who works for him--for us, actually--isn't about balance. It's about a perverse sense of entitlement and a deep aversion to scrutiny and accountability. It is anti-democratic.

Update: Mustang Bobby cites Maureen Dowd and Digby about Cheney's Queeg-like attitude.

General Petraeus is going to use Iraqi biker gangs

Or maybe I just read skippy the bush kangaroo's Pudentilla's post too fast:

we're sure the families of the 17,500 troops assigned to man the stations in baghdad's most violent and difficulty neighborhoods will be relieved to learn that their compatriots in this effort appear to aspire to the discipline and moral order of a biker gang.
indeed, it sounds like that fps is so corrupt that no rational general would want the safety of us counter insurgency troops to depend on their participation. and it sounds like they probably won't help us coin efforts against sadr, since the fps is where a lot of sadr's boys have their day jobs. so it sounds like if petraeus is serious, the sunni population of baghdad could well regard this as a choice to unleash the shia, if not sadr's boys, against them. which might be counter productive from a coin point of view, not to mention a civil war point of view.
now everyone, democrat and republican alike, tells us that gen. petraeus is an honorable man - indeed the best man for the job - indeed, he "wrote the book on counter insurgency!" so perhaps, gen. petraeus wasn't really serious when he said he'd use the fps. because as bad as the fps sounds, it sure sounds better than the alternative.

which is gen. petraeus' imaginary army.

Opening salvo by lawyers defending Spocko and Fair Use

Read the lawyer's pdf letter here. Very nicely done.

News release here.

Spocko is here.

Saudi Arabia tells Iran to know their limits

Saudi Arabia is Sunni. Iran is Shia.

Saudi Arabia's king has said Iran is putting the Gulf region in danger and has advised Tehran leaders to know "their limits".

In an interview published in Kuwait's al-Seyassah newspaper on Saturday, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud said attempts by Iran to spread Shia beliefs in Sunni communities would fail.

King Abdullah said: "Saudi leaders and the Saudi state have always known their limits in dealing with nations, east and west. I explained this to Ali Larijani [Iran's nuclear negotiator] and advised him to pass it on to his government and its followers, with regard to foreign dealings."

The Iraq war is going well.

So shut up, shut up, shut up!

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Birth defects connected to those who have served in the Gulf Wars and Vietnam

The National Birth Defect Registry
The National Birth Defect Registry is a research project designed through a collaboration of seven prominent scientists. The registry collects information on all categories of structural and functional birth defects as well as the health, genetic and environmental exposure histories of the mothers and fathers of these children. Registry data have identified patterns of birth defects in the children of Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans.

Soldiers feeling duped and deceived?

Yes. What else do you want to know?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In an action branded a backdoor draft by some critics, the military over the past several years has held tens of thousand of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on the job and in war zones beyond their retirement dates or enlistment length.

It is a widely disliked practice that the Pentagon, under new Defense Secretary Robert Gates, is trying to figure out how to cut back on.

Gates has ordered that the practice - known as "stop loss" - must "be minimized." At the same time, he is looking for ways to decrease the hardship for troops and their families, recruit more people for a larger military and reassess how the active duty and reserves are used.

"It's long overdue," said Jules Lobel, vice president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and lawyer for some in the military who have challenged the policy in court.

"It has created terrible problems of morale," Lobel said last week. "It has in some cases made soldiers feel that they were duped or deceived in how they were recruited."

And a reminder of the barrel the military has been scraping, the recalling to duty of reservists, the lies they've had to tell to teenagers and potential recruits, the parents and soldiers who are saying no.

So duped and deceived? Yes.


McCain's temper may hurt him during the campaign.
Compare and contrast:
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to this:
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and then read Jane Hamsher's post at Firedoglake.

Update 1/30: A new website The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter which, he says, has been created "to point out the frequent mendacity of Senator John McCain."

Fleischer has immunity and Rove and Bartlett have been supoenaed

by Scooter Libby's lawyers:
Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters. While that is no guarantee they will be called, the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, had been made a “scapegoat” to protect Rove.

Cheney is expected to provide the most crucial testimony to back up Wells’s assertion, one of the lawyers close to the case said. The vice president personally penned an October 2003 note in which he wrote, “Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the other.” The note, read aloud in court by Wells, implied that Libby was the one being sacrificed in an effort to clear Rove of any role in leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joe Wilson. “Wow, for all the talk about this being a White House that prides itself on loyalty and discipline, you’re not seeing much of it,” the lawyer said.
An equally embarrassing conflict could emerge next week when former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer takes the stand. Fleischer has been one of the most mysterious figures in the case, making virtually no public comments about it since he left the White House in July 2003. In the past he has insisted he wasn’t even represented by a lawyer. But it emerged during court arguments this week that Fleischer originally invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges to avoid testifying and then only agreed to do so after he was given an immunity deal by Fitzgerald—an arrangement that normally requires extensive bargaining among attorneys. Fleischer’s testimony is critical to Fitzgerald’s case: as the prosecutor laid out this week in his opening statement, Fleischer has said that Libby told him over a White House lunch on July 7, 2003, that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and made a point of describing this information as “hush and hush.” Fitzgerald used that account to undercut Libby’s grand-jury assertion that he was surprised and “taken aback” just three or four days later when, he claims, Russert told him about Wilson’s wife. “You can’t learn something startling on Thursday that you’re giving out Monday and Tuesday of the same week,” Fitzgerald said. Fleischer has also testified that Bartlett also later told him about Wilson’s wife and, after hearing it from both Libby and Bartlett, the then-White House press secretary disclosed the information to NBC reporter David Gregory.

On its face, Fleischer’s account seems to contradict the repeated public assertions of his immediate successor, Scott McClellan, in October 2003 that nobody at the White House was in any way involved in the leak of Plame’s identity. It also potentially puts Bartlett, one of the president’s senior and most trusted advisers, on the hot seat. If Bartlett backs up Fleischer, it suggests he himself played a role in passing along radioactive information that triggered a criminal investigation that has plagued the White House for more than four years. If he contradicts Fleischer, it raises questions about the credibility of a man who was President Bush’s chief spokesman for the first two and a half years of his presidency. His lawyer declined to comment on what Bartlett will say.

But either way, it’s not a scenario that anybody at the White House can be looking forward to.

The person everyone had to protect and lie for was Karl Rove.

Libby, it was widely thought by legal experts, was going to be the good soldier. He would play it safe at his trial in order to preserve his options; mainly, if convicted, to seek a presidential pardon before Bush leaves office.

But no sooner did he start his opening statement Tuesday morning than defense lawyer Ted Wells shocked the courtroom and all but tossed the “pardon strategy” out the window. Seeking to rebut Fitzgerald’s contention that Libby had lied about his knowledge of Plame’s CIA employment in order to save his job with Cheney, Wells shot back: “Mr. Libby was not concerned about losing his job in the Bush administration. He was concerned about being set up, he was concerned about being made the scapegoat.”

According to Wells, the chief culprit, or at least the beneficiary of the plot was Rove, described by the defense lawyer as “the president’s right hand man,” whose survival was essential for the president’s re-election. As related by Wells, his client was so worried that Rove’s fate was taking priority over his that Libby went to his boss, Cheney, in October 2003 and complained: “I think people in the White House are trying to set me up. People in the White House are trying to protect Karl Rove.”

Well’s argument was both brilliant and complex-and perhaps difficult for non-news hounds on the jury to follow. But it raised the prospect that the Libby trial will now turn into a horror show for the White House, forcing current and former top aides to testify against each other and revealing an administration that has been in turmoil over the Iraq war for more than three years.

400 die in Russia from hemorrhagic fever...because of the warm winter

LIPETSK, Russia, Jan. 26 Experts blame this winter's unusually warm weather for the outbreak of hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 400 people in Russia.

The virus dies at 30 degrees below zero, Itar-Tass reported.

Itar-Tass reported that one in three field mice in the Voronezh and Lipetsk regions is infected with the virus. Regional authorities allocated money for pesticides to kill the rodents, which carry the virus and transmit it to humans through the air.

You know the forecast of global warming where the sea rises slowly by inches?

Well... The scientists didn't factor in Greenland and Antartica melting as fast as they are:

The early versions of the report predict that by 2100 the sea level will rise anywhere between 5 and 23 inches. That's far lower than the 20 to 55 inches forecast by 2100 in a study published in the peer-review journal Science this month. Other climate experts, including NASA's James Hansen, predict sea level rise that can be measured by feet more than inches.

The report is also expected to include some kind of proviso that says things could be much worse if ice sheets continue to melt.

The prediction being considered this week by the IPCC is "obviously not the full story because ice sheet decay is something we cannot model right now, but we know it's happening," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate panel lead author from Germany who made the larger prediction of up to 55 inches of sea level rise. "A document like that tends to underestimate the risk," he said.

"This will dominate their discussion because there's so much contentiousness about it," said Bob Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a multinational research effort. "If the IPCC comes out with significantly less than one meter (about 39 inches of sea level rise), there will be people in the science community saying we don't think that's a fair reflection of what we know."

In the past, the climate change panel didn't figure there would be large melt of ice in west Antarctica and Greenland this century and didn't factor it into the predictions. Those forecasts were based only on the sea level rise from melting glaciers (which are different from ice sheets) and the physical expansion of water as it warms.

But in 2002, Antarctica's 1,255-square-mile Larsen B ice shelf broke off and disappeared in just 35 days. And recent NASA data shows that Greenland is losing 53 cubic miles of ice each year - twice the rate it was losing in 1996.

I think not buying coastal property right now is a wise decision.

And maybe make sure you have access to a boat....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The necessity of Hope

Thank god Phila at Bouphonia collects these amazing articles for his Friday Hope post! The world is a little less bleak.

Wearing US army uniforms, speaking English and driving an armed escort caravan

Militants gained entrance into an US compound and took 5 soldiers hostage, killing them later 25 miles away.

of Firedoglake tells us how the story first was told and then how the truth came out:

Last week, following one of the worst days in Iraq for US casualties, a group of armed men dressed in US Army uniforms, some of them speaking English, drove an armed escort official-looking caravan into a compound in Karbala in which US civil affairs officials were meeting with Iraqis officals about security arrangements. As soon as they gained unimpeded entrance to the compound the men began shooting American troops and tossing grenades. At least five US troops were killed "repelling the attack," according to the first reports.

The initial reports focused not only on the tragic death of five more Americans but also on the audacity of the attack. In the past, we'd seen stories of attackers dressed in Iraqi uniforms (with the likelihood they really were members of sectarian militia within the Iraqi security forces), but I don't recall attackers using US uniforms, carrying US weapons and speaking English. Larry Johnson discusses the ominous implications of this new development in a post at TPM.

The original version of the story claimed that the US soldiers had been killed repelling the attackers, implying that their deaths had occurred at the site of the initial attack. But yesterday's revised version from AP disclosed that the orginal version was false. The US command now reveals that four of the soldiers were actually captured by attackers, who then escaped and drove some 25 miles away, where they executed the Americans with shots to the head. By the time Iraq/US troops arrived at that scene, three of the four Americans were dead and the fourth died from his wounds on the way to a hospital. He too had been shot in the head at close range.

So tell us again. Who are we asking to stand up so we can stand down? Who are we training? Which faction are we supporting? Who are we supposed to trust? Why are we there?

If this is Spocko's pilot, I'm looking forward to the series!

What truth will do to bloated indifferent arrogant corporations who want you to pay up and shut up.

Spocko's latest video.

The press suddenly realizes why blogs have become first choice sources of news and information

Because the so-called liberal media is a crock and anyone with a few brain cells could see lies and propaganda were being dispersed, that 'journalists' had become embarrassing White House lackeys, that no one was asking questions that demanded to be asked. Mainstream media just laid down and rolled over on command.

It apparently became clear to them when Cheney's former top press assistant Cathie Martin was on the witness stand what people who had been paying attention knew years ago.

Los Angeles Times:
Cheney's demonstrated proclivity for rhetorical bullying aside, dismissing legitimate questions growing out of such views in the fashion aired by CNN this week is an expression of contempt for public opinion itself.

There's no particular reason why malfeasant members of the press or those who merely are incompetent shouldn't be held in contempt. The news media, after all, are like every American institution, home to its share of idiots, poseurs, slothful time-markers and self-interested time servers. The problem is that Cheney and his former aides aren't simply contemptuous of the individual reporters or even of the press itself. They're contemptuous of the principle under which the free press operates — which is the American people's right to have a reasonable account of what the government does in their name.

The lesson to take away from this week's unintended seminar in contemporary journalism is that the vice president and his staff, acting on behalf of the Bush administration, believe that truth is a malleable adjunct to their ambitions and that they have a well-founded confidence that some members of the Washington press corps will cynically accommodate that belief for the sake of their careers.

It's a sick little arrangement in which the parties clearly have one thing in common: a profound indifference to both the common good and to their obligation to act in its service.
Washington Post's Dana Milbank who started off the article with the title: Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you:
It is unclear whether the first week of the trial will help or hurt Libby or the administration. But the trial has already pulled back the curtain on the White House's PR techniques and confirmed some of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used. Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the president's Cabinet. Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

Martin was embarrassed about the "leak" option; the case, after all, is about a leak. "It's a term of art," she said. "If you give it to one reporter, they're likelier to write the story."

For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek.

"You didn't have a lot of hands-on experience dealing with the press?" defense attorney Theodore Wells asked.

"Correct," Martin replied. After further questions, she added: "Few of us in the White House had had hands-on experience with any crisis like this."

(I find it very instructive she used the word 'crisis' to describe the Joseph Wilson counterattack.)

Anyway. To the mainstream media: Welcome to the party, pal!

Wanna know who's against federal minimum wage?

Via Steve Bates, Bob Geiger's list:
Here are the Republican Senators who voted for the measure killed in the Senate yesterday that would have eliminated the Federal Minimum Wage entirely:
  • Alexander (R-TN)
  • Allard (R-CO)
  • Bennett (R-UT)
  • Bond (R-MO)
  • Brownback (R-KS)
  • Bunning (R-KY)
  • Burr (R-NC)
  • Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Coburn (R-OK)
  • Cochran (R-MS)
  • Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Craig (R-ID)
  • Crapo (R-ID)
  • DeMint (R-SC)
  • Ensign (R-NV)
  • Enzi (R-WY)
  • Graham (R-SC)
  • Gregg (R-NH)
  • Hagel (R-NE)
  • Hatch (R-UT)
  • Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Isakson (R-GA)
  • Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Lott (R-MS)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • McConnell (R-KY)
  • Sununu (R-NH)
  • Thomas (R-WY)
For the record, those running for reelection in 2008 are Alexander, Bennett, Chambliss, Cochran, Cornyn, Craig, Enzi, Graham, Hagel, Inhofe, McConnell and Sununu.

Oh, and that guy McCain is probably running for president and Brownback definitely is.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Turkey contemplates going into Kurdish northern Iraq with an army

Jonathan Gorvett of Al Jazeera:

Turkey's parliament went into secret session this week to debate sending troops to invade and occupy northern Iraq for security purposes.

More than 30,000 people have been killed in the confrontation between the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish army – about 400 last year alone, according to Turkey's Human Rights Association.

Onur Oymen, the deputy chairman of the Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said: "Northern Iraq is the only place in the world where a terrorist group can operate without being pursued."

"If the Iraqis and the US are not prepared to take action over this, then we must."

Oymen referred to bases in northern Iraq belonging to the PKK which has been fighting Turkish troops since the 1980s to try to establish a separate Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey.

Northern Iraq has been effectively independent of Baghdad's control since the early 1990s.

ABC/ Disney running the unedited 9/11 film on Fox

The creakier and wobblier the Bush house of cards gets, the louder and angrier his supporters become...

By Eric Kleefeld of TPM Cafe:
Great Moments In Fox News Dept.... Fox News has announced on the air that they are planning to run the fictitious scene that was cut from ABC's 9/11 special this weekend. This is big news: Remember, that's the fictious scene about how the Clinton administration allegedly let Osama Bin Laden get away — the one that sparked a massive, days-long battle between ABC and Clinton and his defenders that resulted in ABC editing out the scene. You can see Fox's announcement of this on our You Tube below. Amusingly enough, the ad for this upcoming segment was preceded by their usual "You Decide" ad attesting to Fox's self-proclaimed objectivity. To watch the two ads, click here. (Editor's note: These ads actually did run as shown, one after the other.)

Look at the headers of the posts at Americablog:

FOX to broadcast false 9/11 story from Disney/ABC's fake documentary - Disney/ABC refuse to assert their copyright, YouTube illegally broadcasts video

ABC Entertainment president personally attacks Sandy Berger, says error-riddled "Path to 9/11" was totally true

President Clinton contacting head of Disney over rekindled "Path to 9/11" controversy

I guess the neocons who planned out their glorious 21st century reich for America didn't expect us to fight back or mind so much when our country was hijacked into the ditch....kinda like what didn't happen in Iraq. No flowers and candy from angry American citizens.

We want the truth, not this pre-digested rewriting of history propaganda.

Terribly bad yet hilarious Friday cat blogging

You have been warned.

And just to show you we will never forget, Ohio's votes were stolen in 2004.

Steve Bates:

Fascinating... they may have done it, not to steal the election, but to save the county money, or to save themselves trouble. To this sorry condition our democracy has descended. Actually, though, I do not believe money was the only issue. Why? Read on...

The always essential has much more on this incident and the recent convictions. There's no one "money quote" in their article; I'll just note three significant but unrelated points:

  • The officials were caught red-handed... videotaped explaining how their nonrandom selection worked,
  • The ballots arrived for the process presorted into Bush and Kerry stacks (oh, yeah, that's random),
  • The audit proposed in the Holt bill would probably not have caught this "hack-and-stack" fraud.

We may never know who actually won the 2004 presidential election. But from all the evidence one can find at, there can be little doubt there were multiple instances of fraud. America can either address these issues, or stop pretending to be a democracy. Which will it be?