Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Frank Rich

Assures us the Democrats are not unraveling over the silliness of flag pins, Pastor Wright, nor bittergate, and that McBush should be careful not to get complacent:
Mr. McCain is not only burdened with the most despised president in his own 71-year lifetime, but he’s getting none of the seasoning that he, no less than the Democrats, needs to compete in the fall. Age is as much an issue as race and gender in this campaign. Mr. McCain will have to prove not merely that he can keep to the physical rigors of his schedule and fend off investigations of his ties to lobbyists and developers. He also must show he can think and speak fluently about the domestic issues that are gripping the country. Picture him debating either Democrat about health care, the mortgage crisis, stagnant middle-class wages, rice rationing at Costco. It’s not pretty.

Last week found Mr. McCain visiting economically stricken and “forgotten” communities (forgotten by Republicans, that is) in what his campaign bills as the “It’s Time for Action Tour.” It kicked off in Selma, Ala., a predominantly black town where he confirmed his maverick image by drawing an almost exclusively white audience.

The “action” the candidate outlined in the text of his speeches may strike many voters as running the gamut from inaction to inertia. Mr. McCain vowed that he would not “roll out a long list of policy initiatives.” (He can’t, given his long list of tax cuts.) He said he would not bring back lost jobs, lost wages or lost houses. But, as The Birmingham News reported, this stand against government bailouts for struggling Americans didn’t prevent his campaign from helping itself to free labor underwritten by taxpayers: inmates from a local jail were recruited to set up tables and chairs for a private fund-raiser.

The Democrats’ unending brawl may be supplying prime time with a goodly share of melodrama right now, but there will be laughter aplenty once the Republican campaign that’s not ready for prime time emerges from the wings.

I'm ready to laugh!







crossposted at SteveAudio

Meanwhile, unnoticed by humans....

The Blob resurfaces....

Well now:

A rapidly growing viscous mass has been found in a wetland that is part of a conservation area in Nova-Scotia.

We have uncovered a mass that would seem to fibrous in texture like some algae, but cream-white in colour. It has grown 600% within 5 days, and kills everything it touches.

A local community group, with the help of the environmental company I work for, have been frantically trying to find similar occurrences, with no result. Environment Canada has now stepped in to help, but are clueless. Lab results are pending and rather slow.
I have suggested to contain the area with some silt barrier to try to reduce the spread. Although we are not fully aware of what we are dealing here, I would like to remove it and incinerate it, but we are not yet certain of the contamination source, so if it will re-occur. One possibility is the composting facility upstream, but so far this is the only phenomenon observed. There are no other symptoms of contamination. We would greatly appreciate information on it, and possible risks during extraction, if anybody has a clue. We need to proceed with the extraction as soon as possible.

from the BioDigest listserv today
baba durag | 04.25.08 - 1:36 pm

I've been telling you and telling you guys this day would come!! But would people listen? NooOOooO....


Monday, April 28, 2008

For your viewing pleasure


The top ten.

Learning at the knee of the master


McBush sallies forth to find poor people and remind them they are poor because Obama isn't.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday called Democratic rival Barack Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues.

The GOP nominee-in-waiting rapped his Democratic rival for opposing his idea to suspend the tax on fuel during the summer, a proposal that McCain believes will particularly help low-income people who usually have older cars that guzzle more gas.
Coral Gables? THIS Coral Gables? I don't think you'll find any poor people there, McCain.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sitting in the Dock of the Hague

With groveling apologies to Otis Redding and a shaking fist at Steve Bates who got the song and the idea stuck in my head....


Sittin' in the mornin' sun
I'll be sittin' when the evenin' come
Watching the lawyers roll in
And then I watch 'em roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Watching my poll numbers slide away
Ooo, I'm just sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time

I left my home in Texas
Headed for the Capitol Hill
'Cause I've had preznitshal elections
And everything wuz gonna come my way

But I'm just gonna sit in the dock of the Hague
Watching evidence pile day by day
Ooo, I'm sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes

Sittin' here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's three or four countries I bombed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just gonna sit in the dock of the Hague
Watching my life roll away
Oooo-wee, sittin' in the dock of the Hague
Wastin' time


crossposted at SteveAudio

Update: It needs this picture:


Friday, April 25, 2008

Something to look forward to

Phila of Bouphonia's Friday Hope Blogging!


Friday Cat Blogging

In honor of the eternal Democratic primaries...


With Fallon gone and Petraeus in charge,

Iran is now within reach for Cheney and the neocons:
WASHINGTON - The nomination of General David Petraeus to be the new head of the US Central Command ensures that he will be available to defend the George W Bush administration's policies on Iran and Iraq at least to the end of Bush's term and possibly even beyond.

It also gives Vice President Dick Cheney greater freedom of action to exploit the option of an air attack against Iran during the administration's final months.

Petraeus will take up the CENTCOM post in late summer or early autumn, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The ability of the administration to threaten Iran with an attack both publicly and behind the scenes had been dramatically reduced in 2007 by opposition from the former CENTCOM commander, Admiral William Fallon, until he stepped down from the post under pressure from Gates and the White House last month.

Petraeus has proved himself willing to cooperate closely with the White House on Iraq and Iran, arguing against any post-"surge" reduction in troop strength and blaming Iran for challenges to the US military presence. Along with the deference to Petraeus in Congress and the media, his pliability on those issues made him the obvious choice to replace Fallon.

But Petraeus had already effectively taken over many of the powers of the CENTCOM commander last year.

As the top commander in Iraq, he was in theory beneath Fallon in the chain of command. In reality, Petraeus ignored Fallon's views and took orders directly from the White House. Petraeus was in effect playing the role of CENTCOM commander in regard to the twin issues of Iraq and Iran.

Fallon clashed with Petraeus repeatedly from the beginning of his command about the "surge" and US withdrawal from Iraq. Fallon opposed the "surge" and believed the US should begin the withdrawal of most of its troops from Iraq, but he was effectively stymied by the close Petraeus-White House link from being able to influence US military policy in Iraq and the region as a whole.

Fallon had also pushed very hard, according to a source familiar with his thinking, for trying to negotiate an agreement with Iran over innocent passage through the Strait of Hormuz to ease tensions caused by US-Iranian differences over the obligations of navy vessels transiting the strait. But any such negotiations would have conflicted with the administration's emphasis on confrontation with Iran, and they weren't interested.
So what did Cheney do right after Fallon was booted?
Fallon's resignation announcement on March 11 was followed less than a week later by a 10-day Cheney trip to the Middle East in which the vice president talked explicitly about the military option against Iran during visits to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. That suggested that Cheney felt freer to wield the military threat to Iran with Fallon neutralized.

Cheney aggressively solicited political support from Turkish leaders for a US strike against Iranian nuclear facilities during his visit to Turkey last month, according to a source familiar with Cheney's meeting in Ankara.

Cheney was "very aggressive" in asking Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, as well as Turkey's chief of general staff General Yasar Bukyukanit to get "on board" with such an attack, according to the source, who has access to reports from the Cheney visit.
Remember what the reaction of the Saudis was right after Cheney's visit: researching procedures to handle radioactive fallout.

And why did the Bush administration 'open up' the file on Israel's bombing of Syria unless it was to prepare the world for the inevitable bombing strikes on Iran? You have to ask why they did it right now, because they've never released any kind of information unless it benefits their agenda:
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration went public Thursday with sensitive intelligence meant to show that North Korea spent years helping Syria build a covert facility for nuclear weapons before the plant was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike last year.

The disclosures offered a rare look at evidence gathered by U.S. and allied intelligence agencies and were part of a choreographed campaign by the administration to put pressure not only on North Korea and Syria, but also on other adversaries accused of pursuing nuclear weapons, including Iran.

The previously classified information included satellite images of the Syrian facility, photos of a man identified as a North Korean nuclear expert in Syria, as well as pictures taken by someone with access to the structure as it was being built.

The photos were presented in a glossy dossier that called attention to similarities between the Syrian plant, at a desert site called Al Kibar, and North Korea's nuclear reactor at Yongbyon.

The evidence left several questions unanswered, such as how Damascus would fuel the plant or manufacture bombs, and was greeted with skepticism by some nuclear experts and foreign officials.

U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged that they had not obtained evidence indicating Syria was working on nuclear weapons designs and had not identified a source of nuclear material for the facility.

In detailing the alleged North Korean-Syrian cooperation and the destruction of the plant, the Bush administration broke a long silence. U.S. officials confirmed the Israeli attack on the site and indicated that they had cooperated intensively with the Israelis on intelligence and policy issues. They denied any U.S. involvement in planning or executing the Sept. 6 strike.
Further into the article:
As the briefings concluded, the White House issued a statement condemning North Korea and Syria and warning Iran that it should relinquish any nuclear weapons aspirations.
I don't think this has anything to do with Syria or North Korea.

They're going to bomb Iran and hand the disaster over to the Democratic president. Two birds with one 500 ton bomb.

Update: And here is more preparation of the excuses we'll give:
WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today accused Iran of increasing its shipments of weapons to militants in Iraq, despite promises by Iranian leaders that they would cut off the flow of arms.

Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman, said there was not a massive infusion of weapons but said over time there had been "a consistent increase" in arms shipments. Speaking at a morning news conference, Mullen said weapons had been intercepted in Iraq that showed evidence of relatively recent manufacture in Iran, adding that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, would lay out a fuller account of the evidence in the weeks to come.

Update: Sinfonian of Blast Off says it better.

crossposted at American Street

It's way past April first

So this can't be a joke.... can it?:
At the cost of nearly $500 million, a Los Angeles-based company is “developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum.” The park “is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland.” The company’s owner says “the time is ripe” for profit and entertainment to collide in Iraq...
Ripe? Profit and entertainment? Are you kidding me? Just who on earth is supportive of this ridiculous effort?
But Mr Werner, whose company manages several hundred million dollars of equity, sees Iraq as a great opportunity. “Iraq to me is an open field. I have never in my life seen an opportunity with the potential that Iraq has with its skilled workforce and oil reserves.” He has begun partnerships with several Iraqi factories in the last year, investing tens of millions of dollars in joint ventures. But the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience could prove the most ambitious. General David Petraeus, head of US forces, is said to be a “big supporter” of the project, according to Mr Brinkley.
Really? This makes me feel so much better about Petraeus having a firm grip on the reality on the ground.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ashcroft sure is cranky for a godly man

Via Blue Texan at Firedoglake, Elsinora of the Daily Kos during a question and answer period after Ashcroft's speech:
ME: Actually, Mr. Ashcroft, my question was about this other document. (laughter and applause) This other document is a section from the judgment of the Tokyo War Tribunal. After WWII, the Tokyo Tribunal was basically the Nuremberg Trials for Japan. Many Japanese leaders were put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture. And among the tortures listed was the "water treatment," which we nowadays call waterboarding...
ASHCROFT: (interrupting) This is a speech, not a question. I don't mind, but it's not a question.
ME: It will be, sir, just give me a moment. The judgment describes this water treatment, and I quote, "the victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach." One man, Yukio Asano, was sentenced to fifteen years hard labor by the allies for waterboarding American troops to obtain information. Since Yukio Asano was trying to get information to help defend his country--exactly what you, Mr. Ashcroft, say is acceptible for Americans to do--do you believe that his sentence was unjust? (boisterous applause and shouts of "Good question!")
ASHCROFT: (angrily) Now, listen here. You're comparing apples and oranges, apples and oranges. We don't do anything like what you described.
ME: I'm sorry, I was under the impression that we still use the method of putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water down their throat...
ASHCROFT: (interrupting, red-faced, shouting) Pouring! Pouring! Did you hear what she said? "Putting a cloth over someone's face and pouring water on them." That's not what you said before! Read that again, what you said before!
ME: Sir, other reports of the time say...
ASHCROFT: (shouting) Read what you said before! (cries of "Answer her fucking question!" from the audience) Read it!
ME: (firmly) Mr. Ashcroft, please answer the question.
ASHCROFT: (shouting) Read it back!
ME: "The victim was bound or otherwise secured in a prone position; and water was forced through his mouth and nostrils into his lungs and stomach."
ASHCROFT: (shouting) You hear that? You hear it? "Forced!" If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...does this college have an anatomy class? If you can't tell the difference between forcing and pouring...
ME: (firmly and loudly) Mr. Ashcroft, do you believe that Yukio Asano's sentence was unjust? Answer the question. (pause)
ASHCROFT: (more restrained) It's not a fair question; there's no comparison. Next question! (loud chorus of boos from the audience)

Where is our War Czar?

Just an question. Is he doing anything? Anybody seen or heard from him recently?

He was still trying to push "transitioning to Iraqi control" in January of 2008:

Memories of our glorious war

The war that was supposed to last only six weeks...


12,000? Twelve THOUSAND??

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs lied about the number of veterans who have tried to kill themselves, Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday, citing internal e-mails that put the number at 12,000 a year while the department was publicly saying it was fewer than 800.

“The suicide rate is a red alarm bell to all of us,” the Washington state Democrat said. She added that the VA’s mental health programs are overwhelmed by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans even as the department seeks to downplay the situation.

“We are not your enemy, we are your support team, and unless we get accurate information we can’t be there to do our jobs,” Murray said.

VA deputy secretary Gordon Mansfield acknowledged the numbers discrepancy and apologized during a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, telling Murray and other senators he didn’t think there was any deliberate attempt to mislead Congress or the public.

But Murray remained skeptical, saying the VA has shown a pattern of misleading Congress when it comes to the increasing number of soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan seeking help and putting a strain on Defense Department and VA facilities and programs.
This is supporting the troops in what way, exactly?

God damned America?

Is this Pastor Jeremiah Wright still talking?


Apparently Katrina was sent by God to New Orleans because some of its citizens were going to have a gay parade.

The God Damning America commenter? John McCain's endorser Reverend Hagee.



McCain was for it before he was against it

Even if he was the one who sponsored the bills.

Steve Benen of The Carpetbagger Report

That’s obviously quite a bit of evasion for Mr. “Straight Talk,” but it got me thinking: how many McCain-sponsored bills is McCain prepared to vote against?

Let’s see…

* He said this week that he’d vote against his own immigration plan.

* McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now, if the treaty comes to the Senate floor, he’s vowed to vote against it.

* McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. In 2007, to make the far-right base happy, he voted against the bill he had taken the lead on.

* In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he now opposes the measure he’d backed.

* McCain used to support major campaign-finance reform measures that bore his name. In June 2007 2006, McCain announced his opposition to a major McCain-Feingold provision.

It’s one thing to shift with the political winds, and I’ll gladly concede that there are worse qualities in a presidential candidate than changing one’s mind about a policy matter or two. Indeed, McCain has been in Congress for a quarter-century; he’s bound to shift now and then on various issues.

But these aren’t just random bills that McCain voted on — these are bills that he personally championedrecently. And now, after McCain sponsored the bills, he’s not even willing to vote for them anymore.

So... will they pass out flip flops at the convention? Will the media address this blatant reinvention of his core beliefs? Will they even notice?

Or will they talk about lapel pins?

I guess I'll get to use this pic a lot


Senator John McCain has staked his campaign for the presidency in large part on his reputation as a reformer intent on curbing the influence of money in politics.

But an examination by The New York Times of a list of 106 elite fund-raisers who have brought in more than $100,000 each for Mr. McCain found that about a sixth of them were lobbyists. The list of “bundlers” was released on Friday by the McCain campaign.

The sizable number of lobbyists, who are outnumbered on the list only by those working in the financial services industry, offers another example of the balancing act that Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is having to strike as he campaigns for the presidency and seeks to maintain his reputation as a reformer.

The McCain campaign’s disclosure on Friday of its top bundlers of contributions was part of its efforts to furnish a sense of financial transparency to the public, in keeping with Mr. McCain’s past focus on overhauling campaign finance and his criticism of the influence of special interests in Washington.


But the McCain campaign, which struggled over much of the past year in raising money, is now seeking to emulate the record-setting money machine that powered George W. Bush to victories in 2000 and 2004, bestowing special titles upon bundlers who exceed certain financial targets.

Instead of “Pioneers” and “Rangers,” as President Bush’s top fund-raisers were called, Mr. McCain is dubbing the 73 people so far who have brought in $100,000 or more “Trailblazers,” while the 33 who brought in $250,000 or more are being called “Innovators.”

Campaign finance watchdogs criticized the Pioneer and Ranger system for establishing an elite class of donors, many of whom went on to ambassadorships and other political appointments. But Mr. McCain’s advisers believe the system offers the best chance for the campaign to encourage as many people as possible to raise large amounts of cash for him.

Mr. McCain has badly trailed both Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in fund-raising — in March, for example, he brought in $15 million, compared with Mr. Obama’s $40 million and Mrs. Clinton’s $20 million. While Mr. McCain’s Democratic counterparts, especially Mr. Obama, have enjoyed much success in harvesting small-dollar donations over the Internet, Mr. McCain has not built an effective Internet fund-raising machine, forcing him to depend on a circle of wealthy donors.
And how can you talk about transparency when you try to pretend your wife doesn't have 100 million in unknown investments? Transparency? Like how he's trying to ignore the rules on public financing for campaigns and actually breaking the law?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So... how much money did we lose on this great idea?

20 million? Or 860 million? (my bold)
TUCSON, Ariz. - A $20 million prototype of the government's highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border is being scrapped because the system is failing to adequately alert Border Patrol agents to illegal crossings, officials said.

The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced his approval of the fence built by The Boeing Co. The fence consists of nine electronic surveillance towers along a 28-mile section of border southwest of Tucson.

Boeing is to replace the so-called Project 28 prototype with a series of towers equipped with communications systems, new cameras and new radar capability, officials said.


Boeing was awarded an $860 million contract to provide the technology, physical fences and vehicle barriers.

"Boeing has delivered a system that the Border Patrol currently is operating 24 hours a day," Boeing spokeswoman Deborah Bosick said. She declined further comment.

Project 28 was not intended to be the final, state-of-the-art system for catching illegal immigrants, Giddens said. "I think some people understood that and some didn't. We didn't communicate that well."
We shouldn't have expected it to work?? WTF?

When will we just dig a ditch and put sharpened sticks in it? Outfit rabbits with lazers? Start laying land mines?

Good grief.

Update: Bryan of Why Now? says it better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In honor

Of Earth Day, I offer Phila of Bouphonia's Hope Blogging!

But it's true


They even watched.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And Alberto Gonzales’s trip to Guantanamo, could you talk about that?

PHILIPPE SANDS: Well, I’ve spoken for the first time, or at least people I’ve spoken with have for the first time now become publicly identified as closely involved. Diane Beaver was the lawyer down at Guantanamo. Mike Dunlavey was her boss. General Hill was the commander of United States SouthCom based at Miami. I’ve spoken to all three of them, and both Diane Beaver and Mike Dunlavey, who have largely been scapegoated by the administration, described to me the visit that Mr. Gonzales made, accompanied by Mr. Addington, who’s Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, and Jim Haynes, who is Rumsfeld’s lawyer.

They came down. They talked about interrogation techniques. They apparently even watched an interrogation or two. I was told that the driving individual was Mr. Addington, who was obviously the man in control. And I was told in particular by Diane Beaver that she was quite fearful of Mr. Haynes, and she also shared with me that Alberto Gonzales was rather quiet.
I've it before and I say it now, these members of Bush's cabal were into torture. It made them feel like they could shock and awe the world with their mighty and powerful ... military and bombs.


Hard to push how mighty and powerful we are when all this war has shown is how craven and cowardly these creeps actually are.


If we can't bring ourselves to do it, let there please be one brave European country who can take our war criminals to the Hague!


Because torture is always immoral.

Even the military knows this:
The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an al-Qaida suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers.

Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared.

The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

Saudi-born al-Qahtani was sexually taunted, forced to perform dog tricks and given enemas at Guantánamo.

The CIA admitted last year that it destroyed videotapes of al-Qaida suspects being interrogated at a secret "black site" in Thailand. No proof has so far emerged that tapes of interrogations at Guantánamo were destroyed, but Sands' report suggests the US may have also buried politically sensitive proof relating to abuse by interrogators at the prison camp.

Other new evidence has also emerged in the last month that raises questions about destroyed tapes at Guantánamo.
We need to see accountability, responsibility, justice. We need to see impeachment.


crossposted at SteveAudio

They're copying us!

China sends arms and militia to Zimbabwe.

But the ship has been blocked from unloading the weapons: (my bold)
The Chinese freighter arrived in South Africa last week, and human rights groups and others said they feared the mortar grenades and bullets onboard could be used by President Robert Mugabe's regime to clamp down on its opposition.

A South African group persuaded a judge to bar the weapons from transiting through the country to landlocked Zimbabwe. and the An Yue Jiang then sailed away from South Africa. Private groups and government officials in Mozambique, Angola and Namibia also objected to the weapons, though Namibia said the ship could refuel there if necessary.


In Washington, the State Department said it was pleased by Tuesday's news from China.

"Right now clearly is not the time that we would want to see anyone putting additional weapons or additional material into this system when the situation is so unsettled and when we have seen real and visible instances of abuses committed by the security forces," deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters.

Zimbabwe's government has refused to publish the results of the presidential election held more than three weeks ago, and the opposition says that is part of a ploy to steal the vote. There are reports of increasing violence against the opposition.

China is one of Zimbabwe's main trade partners and allies, and there is no international arms embargo against Zimbabwe. But China's relationship with Mugabe is often pointed to as an example of its willingness to deal with authoritarian regimes in order to secure commodities and markets in Africa.

Although China's global weapons exports are considered tiny in dollar terms, especially compared to the United States, Beijing is a principle exporter of cheap, simple small arms blamed for fueling violence in Sudan and other parts of Africa.

How dare China horn in on our weapons deals!
The United States maintained its role as the leading supplier of weapons to the developing world in 2006, followed by Russia and Britain, according to a Congressional study. Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia were the top buyers.

The global weapons market is highly competitive, with manufacturing countries seeking both to increase profits and to expand political influence through weapons sales to developing nations that reached nearly $28.8 billion in 2006.

I mean... we have the right and the need to arm people all over the world with the latest weapons! We are the self-declared policeman of the world and we must go fight and conquer those who ... we .. have armed... ah...

Pay no attention to that last statement, tinpot dictators! Especially if you have oil!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Here they come!!


The ten best of the worst!

Where is Cindy?

And just what is she hiding? Besides her 100 million?

Sen. John McCain reported income of $405,409 last year, but the money he spent on charitable contributions, wages to household staff, alimony and taxes ate up most of that -- showing how his wife, Cindy, helped support a wealthy lifestyle.

McCain on Friday released his 2007 and 2006 tax returns, but not those of his wife, whose income from ownership of a beer distributor far exceeds $1 million, according to financial disclosure statements filed previously in the Senate.

McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has never before released his tax returns. Outside groups estimate the McCains' combined wealth to be between $28 million and $100 million.
How odd. What has Cindy invested in that McCain doesn't want us to see? War profiteering? Defense contractors? Big oil? Enron? China?

Shouldn't we be able to see where her money is because it clearly affects him? Show us the tax returns like every other candidate has done and let the American people decide whether it is unimportant or not.

Will the election in Pennsylvania actually reflect the votes?


House GOP Leaders and White House Deliver Blow to Verifiable Election
After a year of consideration, the House today unexpectedly failed to pass in a streamlined process a bill that would have authorized funding for states to replace paperless electronic voting machines in time for the presidential election in November.

"Our voting systems are in shambles, and seven months before we choose our next president, the White House and House Republican leaders today delivered a blow to secure elections and the ability to conduct meaningful recounts," said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. "The United States is spending billions of dollars to build democracy overseas, yet our own Congress turned its back on the workings of our own democracy."

At stake is Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008. The bill had been placed on the House "suspension" calendar, meaning it needed two-thirds support to pass. Democrats and Republicans last week had reached agreement and passage was expected today.

Then the White House at the eleventh hour issued a statement urging the House to vote against the bill. And, in an unexpected move, Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI), the ranking member of the House Administration Committee, and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the minority whip, also came out against the bill.
Gee... could it be that if all the votes actually are counted, Republicans lose? Is that why they resort to all those illegal activities like ... oh, preventing people from actually voting as in caging, phone blocking, mocking women voters, losing voters' ballots, failures in programming and protection of the electronic voter machines, preventing recounts, declaring there was Democratic voter fraud when there was none (it's called projection)?

Remember what Paul Krugman said about Republicans:

The Republican Party’s adherence to an outdated ideology leaves it with big problems. It can’t offer domestic policies that respond to the public’s real needs. So how can it win elections?

The answer, for a while, was a combination of distraction and disenfranchisement.
Do you really think the Republicans are going to let the Democrats get their way this time?

Will they make sure it will be Hillary that runs against McCain because she might lose?

Remember what Greg Palast said:
BuzzFlash: You’re having incredible success with the new expanded paperback edition of Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans -- Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Of course, the electronic voting machines and how they function is a very significant issue, but your specialty has really been how the Bush/Rove GOP political machine keeps persons who are likely to vote Democratic or Independent from voting.

Greg Palast: Yes. People ask me: Are they going to steal the 2008 election? No, they’ve already stolen the 2008 election. We still have a chance of swiping it back, but the reason I’ve expanded and put out the new edition of Armed Madhouse is to tell you how they will steal in 2008, and what to do about it.
Just a heads up. Just because they've gutted the Treasury, ruined the economy, sunk us neck-deep into the quagmire of two un-winnable wars, destroyed the Constitution.. even with all that, these Republicans who hate government still think they should govern.

And they will continue to steal elections to prove it.

Update at Bradblog:
This Tuesday's crucial contest will be primarily run on 100% faith-based, Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen or push-button) e-voting machines across the state. There will be no way to determine after the election whether the computers have accurately recorded, or not, the intent of those voters who voted on them. As VerifiedVoting.org summarizes the crucial contest, it "will be essentially unrecountable, unverifiable, and unauditable."

crossposted at SteveAudio

Sunday, April 20, 2008

It was rotting from the top down

It was obvious from the start:
In his new book, Torture Team, Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London, reveals that:

· Senior Bush administration figures pushed through previously outlawed measures with the aid of inexperienced military officials at Guantánamo.

· Myers believes he was a victim of "intrigue" by top lawyers at the department of justice, the office of vice-president Dick Cheney, and at Donald Rumsfeld's defence department.

· The Guantánamo lawyers charged with devising interrogation techniques were inspired by the exploits of Jack Bauer in the American TV series 24.

· Myers wrongly believed interrogation techniques had been taken from the army's field manual.

The lawyers, all political appointees, who pushed through the interrogation techniques were Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and William Haynes. Also involved were Doug Feith, Rumsfeld's under-secretary for policy, and Jay Bybee and John Yoo, two assistant attorney generals.

The revelations have sparked a fierce response in the US from those familiar with the contents of the book, and who are determined to establish accountability for the way the Bush administration violated international and domestic law by sanctioning prisoner abuse and torture.

The Bush administration has tried to explain away the ill-treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by blaming junior officials. Sands' book establishes that pressure for aggressive and cruel treatment of detainees came from the top and was sanctioned by the most senior lawyers.
The Bush administration is diseased throughout, from the Deciderer in Chief to the last loyal Bushie.

Time for impeachment.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Losing your home is just in your mind

So apparently is the tanking economy, the destruction of the Constitution, the war in Iraq....

No, he didn't.... Did... Did McCain just tell us to go shopping to make ourselves feel better?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


New York, NY (AHN) - Oil hit another record high on Thursday, with light sweet crude for May delivery hovering at $115.54 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

But oil prices retreated back to $114.76 per barrel during the morning, after it reached a record high of $115.45 overnight.

The report released by The Energy Information Administration indicated that the crude inventories fell by 2.3 million barrels, while gasoline inventories declined by 5.5 million barrels last week.

Condi must go

And go on trial along with all the other high ranking officials of the Bush administration. Watch the video and sign the petition:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Demand accountability

In a stunning admission to ABC news Friday night, President Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA's use of torture. Bush also defended the use of waterboarding - simulated drowning where the victim feels like they are about to die.

Congress should long ago have gotten to the bottom of which top officials approved, condoned and authorized U.S. involvement in torture. But, now that the President has admitted to a policy of top-down torture, it's even more critical that Congress get involved. Take action: tell your members of Congress you demand accountability for torture now!
Sign the petition!

Now tell me

Which one is an elitist and which one truly understands Americans?



crossposted at SteveAudio

I've found John McCain's campaign song!!

Murtha agrees with me.


Same as the old Bush.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

And just who had to empty all those bottles?

Obviously the person who thought up this way to play the Super Mario Bros. theme song:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Take a good look

At this ... guy:


And see the face of racism in the United States.

Say hello to Geoff Davis, Republican representative from Kentucky.

This is all they've got, folks. They're scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

The best worsts of the week

Of these ten.

Look at number six and guess who it is:
- Voted AGAINST an amendment providing $20 billion to the VA's medical facilities. (5/4/06)

- Voted AGAINST providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care "and treatment for veterans," one of only 13 senators to do so. (4/26/06)

- Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.5 billion by closing corporate loopholes. (3/14/06)

- Voted AGAINST increasing VA funding by $1.8 billion by ending "abusive tax loopholes." (3/10/04)

- Voted AGAINST a $650 million increase in veterans' medical care funding. (8/1/01)
Which politician is so against supporting our troops that (s)he would vote like this?? Obviously some dirty rotten liberal Demo..... uh..... Republican?

How could this be?


crossposted at American Street

Now we get to the point

It only took five years and thousands of dead:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total have confirmed that they are in discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to increase production in an important oil field in southern Iraq.

The discussions are aimed at finalizing a two-year deal, or technical support agreement, to boost production at the West Qurna Stage 1 oil field near Iraq's second-largest city of Basra.

Chevron and Total confirmed their involvement in the discussions in e-mails received Saturday by The Associated Press.

"Chevron is interested in helping the Iraq government's objectives to develop its oil and gas industry," Chevron spokesman Kurt Glaubitz said in an e-mail. Total spokeswoman Lisa Wyler confirmed the French company's involvement.


The Iraqi Oil Ministry has said it is also negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp. to increase crude production in four other fields and under the same agreement.

Iraq has the world's third-largest oil reserves, totaling more than 115 billion barrels. Iraq's average production for February was 2.4 million barrels per day and exports averaged 1.93 million barrels per day.

crossposted at SteveAudio

Volcker and Stiglitz speak

And tells the financial systems where they went wrong with this new crisis (more video at the Calculated Risk link):

I think he may actually know what he's talking about....


Stiglitz: Worst Recession Since the Great Depression

He also can see what is coming.

This is going to be .... interesting...

What outsourcing can get you....

No quality control = death.
Inside the Air Force reported in late March on a problem vexing the U.S. military -- fake parts showing up in depots and finding their way into Air Force and Navy aircraft.

An unknown number of counterfeit aircraft parts are being fastened into U.S. military weapon systems after infiltrating supply depots, posing new safety risks and potentially driving up maintenance bills by hundreds of millions of dollars annually, according to Pentagon officials.

This practice is an unintended consequence of two converging trends: globalization and Defense Department acquisition policies instituted in the 1990s that encourage use of commercial-off-the-shelf technology, according to Robert Ernst, head of aging aircraft studies for the Navy.

Nice. You don't go to war with the military you have, you sabotage it at every turn with defense contractors who sell cheap copies and overcharge. In for a penny, in for as much loot as you can carry away.

No wonder they want this war to be eternal.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hope is in the air


Phila of Bouphonia's Friday hope post.

I've been searching for verification of this since 2004 or so

This is not quite it, but what I remember is the writer's disgust at the sadistic delight of the Bush cabinet obscenely exposed while talking about exactly what kind of torture they'd like to do on the Iraqis. Glad to see others picked up on it too.

Via Digby of Hullabaloo:
Update: Reader David F. reminds me of this anecdote from The Nelson Report, back in May 2004, via Josh Marshall:

We can contribute a second hand anecdote to newspaper stories on rising concern, last year, from Secretary of State Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage about Administration attitudes and the risks they might entail: according to eye witnesses to debate at the highest levels of the Administration...the highest levels...whenever Powell or Armitage sought to question prisoner treatment issues, they were forced to endure what our source characterizes as "around the table, coarse, vulgar, frat-boy bully remarks about what these tough guys would do if THEY ever got their hands on prisoners...."

-- let's be clear: our source is not alleging "orders" from the White House. Our source is pointing out that, as we said in the Summary, a fish rots from its head. The atmosphere created by Rumsfeld's controversial decisions was apparently aided and abetted by his colleagues in their callous disregard for the implications of the then-developing situation, and by their ridicule of the only combat veterans at the top of this Administration.
I'll keep on looking for the writer (Richard Clarke? Ron Suskind?). He described a scene very much the same as above, where they indulged in a drooling discussion over which torture techniques they'd like to employ.

I still say these people have watched the torture tapes for fun.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Eaten into extinction


We should be so proud of ourselves:

Culver City, CA (AHN) - After much deliberation, federal officials have decided to cancel the salmon fishing season this Friday. Due to dwindling numbers of salmon in rivers, commercial and recreational fishing of salmon has been outlawed, and the governor has declared a state of emergency for fisherman.

Experts say the number of salmon has reached a critically low amount, with only 68,000 in the Sacramento river and its tributaries. This is down from 800,000, just six years before, a record low in the population.

The price of Salmon is expected skyrocket. Salmon is already going for $30-$40 dollars a pound in some markets, in anticipation of the shortage.

This could very well be the death of the industry in California. "We're looking at the end of it right now," Hedley Prince told the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the harbormaster at San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. He used to have hundreds of fishing boats based out of San Francisco - now, there is only a handful.

Some commercial fishermen are worried about their futures saying they have been fishing all their lives and have no other marketable skills.


The salmon season was expected to start on May 1. At least 400 commercial fishermen could stand to lose 80 percent of their annual income, should the ban remain in force. In addition, California's economy stands to take about a $20 million dollar hit from this ban.
We're going to see more and more of this as we go. Our world is changing before our very eyes.

Solar balloons?

Filled with helium? So what happens when a windstorm or snow happens? Or someone with hedge clippers doesn't like them?

Still... cool idea:


At least they mention hunting squirrels

Because the Bush Depression is going to be a doozy!


We do not torture


This I know


Because Gonzo, Dick and Yoo



Have told me so


Jesus better love me


Cuz nobody else does




Thursday, April 10, 2008

California beats Sweden!

Stockholm, Sweden (AHN)-What could be one of the world's oldest trees may have been found in the northern Swedish province of Dalecarlia.

According to scientists, who sent samples of the tree to a laboratory in Miami, Florida, the Norwegian spruce dates back to nearly 8,000 years. It grows at a height of 950 meters above sea level, is more than two meters (6.5 feet) tall and about 20 centimeters (8 inches) in width.

Lars Hedlund, a local councilor from Dalecarlia where the tree was found, told Swedish Radio that the tree was one of the first to grow following the end of the ice age.

The Norway spruce is one of the most common spruces, often used as Christmas trees.

Based on the Guinness Book of Records, the oldest living tree is 4,768 years old and is a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine, 'Methuselah,' located in the White Mountains of California.

Sorry. Been reading too much about Bush and McBush and needed a morale booster.

How does it feel?

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

How does it feel to be the excuse for Bush to continue the war? How does it feel to keep soldiers in the war zone until they slowly go mad or die? How does it feel to be leg-chained to the worst administration in US history and know your name and face will be forever linked with them in the history books?

How does it feel?


I know how I feel just listening to you two.

crossposted at SteveAudio

More drought predicted

WASHINGTON -- The La Nina climate phenomenon under way in the Pacific Ocean has weakened but is expected to continue at least through midsummer, government weather forecasters said Thursday.

La Nina is a periodic cooling of the tropical Pacific sea surface which reduces rainfall in the region and can affect weather around the world.

Its primary effect over the United States in spring and summer is below-average rainfall over parts of the Southwest, extending from Texas to Nevada.

I'm sure this will be carefully considered and our politicians will help us deal with shortages and ease friction with the neighbors.... or not:
Florida sells unlimited water-pumping rights in drought-stricken State Park to Nestle for $230.
Shouldn't we be demanding an IQ test for our elected officials? Maybe they need to watch this movie before making any decisions.

If you visit Florida

Bring your gun.

So... if you are in a crowd or at your office or on the mall and somebody yells,"He's gotta gun!", who do you shoot?

And what if the person was pointing at you?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Somebody in the bowels of the Pentagon responds

To my post about General Richard Cody emphasizing the 'All Volunteer' military.

Citiwindo, a blogger name created in April 2008 and whose ip address showed (s)he is connected to the Pentagon said this in comments:
The last thing GEN Cody wants is to bring back the Draft. If you look at all of his previous statements in hearings and in media - he STRONGLY opposes the Draftt. He served in a draft Army, and knows how bad it can get. He made that statement last week to get Congress to get off their duffs and give the Army the money it needs to win this War, and to take care of the Soldiers and families. Congress continues to underfund this Army and cut key programs, FCS, etc. His message has always been the same. Grow the Army, fund it appropriately in the BASE budget, and stop trying to win this war on the cheap thru supplementals.
He served in a draft Army, and knows how bad it can get.

What do you mean? Do you mean those people who don't volunteer tend to be hostile about fighting incompetently run wars? And volunteers apparently will go uncomplainingly and willingly to their deaths because they ... volunteered? Or do you mean the fact that activating the draft would bring the wrath of all voters down upon the heads of politicians? Or could it be you are suggesting the draft gathers up people who shouldn't be in the military? Kinda like those soldiers who won WWII?

He made that statement last week to get Congress to get off their duffs and give the Army the money it needs to win this War, and to take care of the Soldiers and families.

Hmm. I understand the statement about taking care of our soldiers, like not cutting veteran's benefits which Republicans have done several times during the Bush administration. Besides the Walter Reed scandal which was mirrored in every other VA hospital across the nation, just recently we found soldiers who were suffering traumatic brain injuries were being sent back to the war and that some VA employees were told to no longer help disabled soldiers with the filing their paperwork. Is that the kind of getting off of the duff you mean? Or could it be the wonderful new GI Bill Senator Webb is trying to get passed? Why isn't McCain supporting this?

And yet you are blaming Congress? Is it because it is now run by a Democratic majority? You're not blaming the administration that got us into this mess? Not the people who thought this war would be a cakewalk? Not the neocons who thought they'd take out Hussein and pop in Chalabi and everything would be over in six weeks? Not the idiots who try to stifle the soldiers voices when they come back to the US? You aren't blaming the Bush administration but Congress? How odd.

So the plan is to keep sending the volunteers back again and again on their third... sixth... twelfth deployment while they slowly go mad or die? Is your response: So?

We have lost trillions ... TRILLIONS of dollars in this unwarranted, unsupported, unnecessary war of Bush and Cheney's. The neocon wet dream of all wet dreams was to take out Saddam Hussein and wedge ourselves into control in the middle of the oil lands. Well, we are now wedged between Iraq and the Eternal War on a Noun with no clear way out.

So. Just how would more money solve this problem? What could be done with even MORE trillions tossed into the quagmire that we haven't yet tried?

Do you think you could define what winning this war would entail? How do we win the Iraq war which is actually about twenty different little wars: the sectarian vs nationalist war, Shiite vs Shiite factions, Sunni vs Shiite, Kurds vs Turks, Kurds vs Shiite and Sunni, tribal loyalities, revenge, Saudi Arabia vs Iran posturing, warlords jockeying for power and a say in the new government, and al-Qaeda vs everybody else?

I don't think I have ever heard anyone even good ol' Petraeus dare to even attempt to define what victory in Iraq would look like and how it could be achieved. It's always just six months away. Wait another few months, four months, six months.... wait until Bush is no longer President....

Can you define your statement: winning this war? Because, by defining victory, you must then explain the real reason we attacked and invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11.

I don't think you can.

Monday, April 07, 2008

How will we explain this mess?

How will we explain ourselves to our grandchildren?


Just a heads up

As the Right Wing Smear Machine shifts into top gear, David Neiwert's words:
Indeed, one of the lessons I've gleaned from carefully observing the behavior of the American right over the years is that the best indicator of its agenda can be found in the very things of which it accuses the left.
In short the McCain campaign strategy will be: I know you are, but what am I?


If you're having withdrawal pangs

From the lack of the top ten worst Republicans this week, here is a stunning list of those who have gotten in trouble with the law....


Truly the worst US administration in history.