Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Click the link and read the whole article.
Deadly fungus devastating populations of amphibians
By John Biemer
Tribune staff reporter
A devastating fungus is sweeping the world, wiping out entire populations of amphibians at such a rate that Brookfield Zoo biologists are helping pull together a massive "Noah's Ark" project to capture frogs, toads and salamanders and put them in safe places.
A variety of factors already have combined to cause more than 120 amphibian species to vanish since 1980, in what one biologist has called "one of the largest extinction spasms for vertebrates in history."
A third of the world's nearly 6,000 amphibian species are threatened—their populations weak and susceptible to disease. If they go, ecosystems will tilt out of balance and potential medical breakthroughs—such as potent painkillers or HIV inhibitors—could be lost.
It is hard to determine how many species have been affected by the fungus because they cannot be assessed fast enough, but it has factored into most of the recent extinctions and declines, said Bob Lacy, the zoo's population geneticist and chairman of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.
That leaves no time for anything but a triage attempt to get some of the animals out of harm's way until this "tragically unique" disease can be further studied and countered, he said.
"It is a race against time, and it's a matter of months," Lacy said.
John King, CNN’s political correspondent, just reported:
CNN is told by three force sources familiar with the investigation that this morning Karl Rove, the president’s deputy chief of staff and top political adviser, is meeting with his attorney and is to meet this morning — if it is not already under way — with the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. According to sources, the goal of the meeting is for Karl to clear up some lingering questions about his role in a White House campaign to undermine Ambassador Joe Wilson — remember he was the the critic of the Bush administration case ever going to war in Iraq, his wife the CIA operative Valerie Plame, whose name was Outed.
It’s a complicated legal investigation and it has become a complicated political problem for the White House. Our understanding, Karl Rove is meeting with his attorney this morning, meeting with the special prosecutor this morning and the hope from Rove’s camp is that he can answer the few remaining questions about his involvement, his back and forth with reporters, during that time frame, his comments to the FBI and other investigators including the grand jury that is investigating this for quite some time now. And the hope from the Rove camp, all can be resolved and Karl Rove cleared of wrongdoing in the relatively near future.
The AP is also reporting that Fitzgerald went before the the grand jury this morning.
A PRIUS IN EVERY POT
by MAUREEN DOWD
It's taken over five years, but George W. Bush finally made a concession speech to Al Gore.
He conceded that America needs to conserve, by buying hybrid vehicles and developing new energy sources.
Trying to calm the yips in his party and the country over exploding gasoline prices, the president sounded a bit like a wild-eyed Ozone Man himself yesterday, extolling the virtues of alternative fuel derived from cooking grease, sugar, grass, wood chips, soybean oil and corn.
But then he got ahold of himself. "You just got to recognize there are limits to how much corn can be used for ethanol," he said, standing in front of a bucolic mural. "After all, we got to eat some."
You could run a fleet of S.U.V.'s on the gas that W. was spewing about fuel. Bill Clinton would have been more likely to crack down on fast food than W. and Dick Cheney would be to crack down on Big Oil.
Even the usually supportive Wall Street Journal editorial page chastised Republicans for putting on "Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi fright wigs" to shout about corporate greed and market manipulation.
W.'s big move was to ever so slightly beef up a federal investigation into oil company price manipulation that's been under way since Katrina. "It's a great idea," said the Democratic leader, Senator Harry Reid. "So good that we passed a law last year calling for that."
Price manipulation could explain the marginal — why gas went from, say, $2.70 to $2.90 — but not why gas went from $1.40 to $2.70. That's more about fundamental forces: Chinese and Indian demand, markets spooked by Iran's threats, Nigeria's unrest, Venezuela's talk of nationalizing its oil industry, and the Pentagon's bungling of the restoration of Iraq's infrastructure.
Gasoline prices may be hurting average folks, but the oilers who helped put the Boy King and the Duke of Halliburton in office with lavish donations are enjoying record profits and breathtaking bonuses.
The Oilmen in the Oval, incompetent in so many ways, have brilliantly achieved one of their main objectives: boosting the fortunes of the oil industry and the people who run it.
All those secret meetings the vice president had back in 2001, letting the energy and oil big shots help write our energy policy — one that urged more oil and gas drilling — worked like a charm.
In all their years in government, Mr. Cheney and the Bushes have never done anything to hold the oil companies' feet to the fire, or get Americans' feet off the gas pedal.
As Representative James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, noted, "The Republicans are the party with the keys to the executive washrooms of Halliburton, Exxon and the big oil corporations."
Consider Lee Raymond, the recently retired chairman and chief executive of Exxon. Recently, we learned about his stunning secret compensation: he got more than $686 million from 1993 to 2005, according to a Times story, which calculated: "That is $144,573 for each day he spent leading Exxon's 'God pod,' as the executive suite at the company's headquarters in Irving, Tex., is known."
The only oil baron who isn't cashing in these days is Saddam. We pulled up to the pump in Baghdad and plunked down $10 billion a month, and we're still not getting any gas out of it.
Instead of easing our oil dependence and paying for Iraq's reconstruction, the bungled invasion and subsequent nuclear sparring with Iran have left even Republicans looking for Priuses.
The last time W. began wringing his hands about our addiction to oil — in the State of the Union address — the vice president was dismissive about the notion of sacrifice afterward.
And the energy secretary clarified the president's words, saying they shouldn't be taken literally and that the idea of replacing Middle East oil imports with alternative fuels was "purely an example."
Even if W. shows up on TV in a gray cardigan, it's patently preposterous for the Republicans to make this argument, after selling us on the idea that it's our manifest destiny to get into giant cars and go to giant Wal-Marts and giant Targets and buy more giant bags of stuff.
Now they're telling us to squeeze into tiny electric cars and compete for precious drips of oil with the Chinese and Indians who are swimming in enough of our dollars to afford cars.
The U.S. could have begun developing alternative fuels 30 years ago if Dick Cheney hadn't helped scuttle an ambitious plan in the Ford administration.
By the time these guys get gas from cooking grease, global warming will have us cooked.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
If you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can't do it if you're a Republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house. The logical follow-up from that is $3 a gallon gasoline.
That is no accident. It is a cause and effect. A cause and effect.
How dare the president of the United States make a speech today in April, many, many, many months after the American people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil.
A woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this winter. And when so many people are making the minimum wage - which hasn't been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power - have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices?
Where have you been, Mr. President? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is affected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech.
Let's see that matched in your budget, let's see that matched in your policy, let's see that matched in you separating yourself from your patron, big oil.
Cut yourself off from that anvil holding your party down and this country down, instead of coming to Washington and throwing your Republican colleagues under the wheels of the train, which they mightily deserve for being a rubber stamp for your obscene, corrupt policy of ripping off the American people.
So Tony Snow is the new Press Secretary.
Here is some of what he has said about Bush in the past:
– Bush has “lost control of the federal budget and cannot resist the temptation to stop raiding the public fisc.” [3/17/06]
– “George W. Bush and his colleagues have become not merely the custodians of the largest government in the history of humankind, but also exponents of its vigorous expansion.” [3/17/06]
– “President Bush distilled the essence of his presidency in this year’s State of the Union Address: brilliant foreign policy and listless domestic policy.” [2/3/06]
– “George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” [11/11/05]
– Bush “has a habit of singing from the Political Correctness hymnal.” [10/7/05]
– “No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives.” [9/30/05]
– Bush “has given the impression that [he] is more eager to please than lead, and that political opponents can get their way if they simply dig in their heels and behave like petulant trust-fund brats, demanding money and favor — now!” [9/30/05]
– “When it comes to federal spending, George W. Bush is the boy who can’t say no. In each of his three years at the helm, the president has warned Congress to restrain its spending appetites, but so far nobody has pushed away from the table mainly because the president doesn’t seem to mean what he says.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03]
– “The president doesn’t seem to give a rip about spending restraint.” [The Detroit News, 12/28/03]
– “Bush, for all his personal appeal, ultimately bolstered his detractors’ claims that he didn’t have the drive and work ethic to succeed.” [11/16/00]
– “Little in the character of demeanor of Al Gore or George Bush makes us say to ourselves: Now, this man is truly special! Little in our present peace and prosperity impels us to say: Give us a great man!” [8/25/00]
– “George W. Bush, meanwhile, talks of a pillowy America, full of niceness and goodwill. Bush has inherited his mother’s attractive feistiness, but he also got his father’s syntax. At one point last week, he stunned a friendly audience by barking out absurd and inappropriate words, like a soul tortured with Tourette’s.” [8/25/00]
– “He recently tried to dazzle reporters by discussing the vagaries of Congressional Budget Office economic forecasts, but his recitation of numbers proved so bewildering that not even his aides could produce a comprehensible translation. The English Language has become a minefield for the man, whose malaprops make him the political heir not of Ronald Reagan, but Norm Crosby.” [8/25/00]
– “On the policy side, he has become a classical dime-store Democrat. He gladly will shovel money into programs that enjoy undeserved prestige, such as Head Start. He seems to consider it mean-spirited to shut down programs that rip-off taxpayers and mislead supposed beneficiaries.” [8/25/00]
What is Bush's proposed solution?
Cut back on Environmental Regulations.
"Gee, we have a real problem. What do we do?"
"Let's use it as an excuse to do what we wanted to do anyway."
Where have we seen THAT before?
How frigging predictable.
You know, you'd think that with all the crap coming down, these clowns just MIGHT say, "Hey, let's actually try to help this time Just to build up some good will."
But I don't think that even occurs to them.
By the way, those regulations were in place 5 years ago when gas was cheap. They aren't the cause, you idiot.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush, his popularity sinking while gas prices soar, hopes to stave off a potential election-year problem for fellow Republicans with a drive to stop price gouging and push alternative fuels.
In a 10:05 a.m. EDT speech on Tuesday, the president will push a four-part plan to ensure fair treatment for motorists, promote fuel efficiency and alternative fuels, and boost U.S. gas supply, his spokesman said.
"We have a strong economy, but high gas prices are like an additional tax on families that are trying to live within a budget," spokesman Scott McClellan said. "It puts a strain on working families, farmers and small businesses."
No, Scotty, you idiot, it ISN'T "like a tax." A tax paves roads, builds schools, helps the homeless, and is returned to community in a concrete benefit. This takes money out of people's pockets, and stuff it into the pocket of some CEO.
But I don't expect you to grasp the distinction.
ATHENS - Greek riot police on Tuesday hurled teargas at demonstrators trying to march to the American embassy in Athens to protest against visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Police in full riot gear clashed with protesters trying to break through their cordon and police used teargas. The leftist and anti-war activists fired back with sticks, stones and petrol bombs.
Thousands of protesters, waving banners reading "Rice Go Home", gathered in central Athens vowing to reach the heavily-guarded embassy but most retreated under the teargas.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Lawyer: Rice Allegedly Leaked Defense Info
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.
Prosecutors disputed the claim.
The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.
Great defense, methinks: "Hey, it's okay if I did it because so did the Secretary of State."
I especially like this because it's a legal matter. The Bushies treat everything like it's a political problem, and are completely unable to adjust to problems that AREN'T political. Legal problems don't go away by spinning the press. This one will last months.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Lou: Who is China's President?
Bud: That's right.
Lou: What's the name of China's President?
Bud: No - Watt's the name of the old Secretary of the Interior.
Lou: WHO is Secretary of the Interior?
Bud: No, Hu is China's President.
Lou: I don't know!
Bud: He's the new Press Secretary.
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
According to Shuster, the latest court documents name Rove as a subject (not a target, not yet, anyway) of the investigation, and they say that Rove will NOT be called as a witness (even though he would be a material witness). If they have decided that they won't call him as a witness, it may well be that they want to leave open the possibility of charging him.
And Georgie is apparently VERY ANGRY that his new friend, the murderer, actually had to hear something unpleasant.
The one off-script moment in an otherwise meticulously choreographed day came when a member of the Falun Gong religious sect that is suppressed in China screamed at Hu for several long minutes as he addressed hundreds of Bush aides and ticketed guests on the lawn. "President Hu! Your days are numbered," she shouted. "President Bush! Stop him from killing!" A startled Hu paused until Bush leaned over and encouraged him to continue. "You're okay," Bush assured Hu.
Bush, described as angry by aides who saw him afterward, apologized to Hu when they sat down in the Oval Office. "This was unfortunate, and I'm sorry this happened," Bush said, according to a White House official.
So Bush APOLOGIZED to the murderer for the unpleasantness.
And they ARRESTED the protester:
When she screamed from a press riser where cameras were recording the event, it took several minutes before uniformed Secret Service officers could get through the throng of photographers to remove her. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, said she would likely be charged with attempting to intimidate, coerce, threaten or harass a foreign official in the performance of his duties, punishable by as much as six months in prison.
I'm at a loss for words. In the United States of America, a New Yorker is going to jail for speaking her mind in the presence of a foreign dictator?
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The grand jury session in federal court in Washington, DC, sources close to the case said, was the first time this year that Fitzgerald told the jurors that he would soon present them with a list of criminal charges he intends to file against Rove in hopes of having the grand jury return a multi-count indictment against Rove.
In an interview Wednesday, Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove remains a "subject" of Fitzgerald's two-year-old probe.
"Mr. Rove is still a subject of the investigation," Luskin said. In a previous interview, Luskin asserted that Rove would not be indicted by Fitzgerald, but he was unwilling to make that prediction again Wednesday.
Ok, it's a columnist, but it's something.
Robbery, not reconstruction, in Iraq
Halliburton and its hundreds of millions of dollars of overcharges or baseless costs are well known. But millions more were taken by companies that promised to build or restore libraries or police facilities, or deliver trucks and construction equipment. Money was given to the puppet government with no follow-up. US government investigators can account for only a third of the $1.5 billion given by the CPA to the interim government and it appears that a substantial portion of the $8 billion given to Iraqi ministries went to ''ghost employees.''
Because of the way the United States set things up after the invasion, contractors are immune from prosecution by Iraqis. And even when firms are prosecuted, the millions of dollars in fines go to the US Treasury, not the Iraqi people. It amounts to two invasions. First the bombs. Then the banks.
This is robbery, not reconstruction.
Look, I'm as pissed off at the Democrats as anybody, and they aren't doing much to change my mind. But, for God's sake, they have GOT to get the majority in Congress because this crap has GOT to be investigated.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
"I'm the Decider"
by Roddy McCorley
"Well, it took me awhile, but I finally realized what "I'm the decider" reminds me of. It sounds like something a character in a Dr. Seuss book might say.
"So with apologies to the late Mr. Geisel, here is some idle speculation as to what else such a character might say:"
I'm the decider.
I pick and I choose.
I pick among whats.
And choose among whos.
And as I decide
Each particular day
The things I decide on
All turn out that way.
I decided on Freedom
For all of Iraq.
And now that we have it,
I'm not looking back.
I decided on tax cuts
That just help the wealthy.
And Medicare changes
That aren't really healthy.
And parklands and wetlands
Who needs all that stuff?
I decided that none
Would be more than enough!
I decided that schools
All in all are the best
The less that they teach
And the more that they test.
I decided those wages
You need to get by
Are much better spent
On some CEO guy.
I decided your Wade
Which was versing your Roe
Is terribly awful
And just has to go.
I decided that levees
Are not really needed.
Now when hurricanes come
They can come unimpeded.
That old Constitution?
Well, I have decided
As"just goddam paper"
It should be derided.
I've decided gay marriage
Is icky and weird.
Above all other things,
It's the one to be feared.
And Cheney and Rummy
And Condi all know
That I'm the Decider -
They tell me it's so.
I'm the Decider
So watch what you say
Or I may decide
To have you whisked away.
Or I'll tap your phones.
Your e-mail I'll read.
`cause I'm the Decider -
Like Jesus decreed.
Yes, I'm the Decider
The finest alive
And I'm nuking Iran.
Now watch this drive!
"Now that I think about it, Dr. Seuss anticipated this administration pretty well when he wrote Yertle the Turtle..."
And Rove will change his title, while keeping the same level of influence.
I WOULD say that it's like lipstick on a pig, but I have a higher opinion of pigs.
I wonder who will replace him. I hear that Bagdhad Bob is available.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
A "Decider" is a "Machine that always halts."
In computability theory, a machine that always halts — also called a decider (Sipser, 1996) — is anyabstract machine or model of computation that, contrary to the most general Turing machines, is guaranteed to halt for any particular description and input.
In his radio interview with Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Rumsfeld said that those who had spoken out against him represented "the same kinds of criticism that occurred in the Revolutionary War and World War I and World War II and the Korean War, Vietnam War; it's not new." - New York Times
In the first place, it speaks volumes that the Defense Secretary of the United States goes on the radio show of a drug-hazed right-wing extremist to defend his failures. I guess that's the only sympathetic audience he has left.
In the second place, those wars he is talking about weren't fought anything LIKE this one. Isn't Rummy's whole thing that he was going to fight a war in a NEW WAY? And NOT like they were fought in those other conflicts?
In the third, is he just NUTS? Has he been taking as many drugs as Rush?
He thinks that because SOMETIMES criticism is invalid, he can therefore ignore ALL criticism and ASSUME that ALL of it is invalid?
Well, no WONDER Iraq is such a filthy mess, when the operation is being run by someone whose thinking process is that diseased.
Donald Rumsfeld and the neocons have not been right about a SINGLE THING. Not one thing. And they STILL stand there and pretend that they're experts, and it's the people who have been proven RIGHT who don't know what they're talking about.
Here Donald, tell us us how great everything is going:
Four Marines were reported killed in fighting west of Baghdad, bringing the U.S. death toll for this month to 47 — compared with 31 for all of March.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Dean: Bush should declassify info about 'weapons' trailersThe following statement was issued by the Democratic National Committee to RAW STORY.
The Washington Post reported today that President Bush detailed the alleged existence of mobile biological weapons laboratories and claimed that "We have found the weapons of mass destruction," two days after a "Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington" in a May 27, 2003 field report that directly contradicted the President's statements. The final version of that report remains classified to this day. [Washington Post, 4/12/06]
This week, President Bush stated that he declassified and authorized the leak of cherry-picked portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate because he "wanted people to see the truth," and "to see what some of those statements were based on." [President Bush, 4/10/06] In a breakfast discussion this morning with a couple dozen journalists hosted by the American Prospect, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on President Bush to release or declassify the final Defense Intelligence Agency report on the trailers so that the American people can learn whether they were misled about the claims of Iraqi biological weapons:
"Given that the President has been willing to declassify information for his own political purposes, he should declassify this report so that the American people can know if they were misled. The onus is clearly on the President to clarify the situation surrounding this report. Was this incompetence, meaning that he did not know something that he clearly should have known, or is this an instance of dishonesty where information was misused or withheld to support a political agenda?"
Thank you, Chairman Dean.
By giving them sewage to drink.
Doctor alleges water linked to infections
Halliburton contends it met Army standards
WASHINGTON - A U.S. Army doctor serving in Iraq has linked a small outbreak of bacterial infections among U.S. troops to allegedly contaminated water supplied by Houston-based Halliburton Co.
In the latest broadside against Halliburton and its performance in Iraq, Senate Democrats produced an e-mail Friday from Capt. A. Michelle Callahan, a family physician serving at Qayyarah Airfield West, recounting how she treated six infections over a two-week period in January, at the same time she was noticing the water in base showers was cloudy and foul-smelling.
Follow-up testing of the water soldiers were using to bathe, shave and even brush their teeth revealed evidence of coliform and E. coli bacteria, Callahan wrote in an e-mail to a staffer for the Democratic Policy Committee, led by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.
Halliburton subsidiary KBR was responsible for treating water at that base, under a contract to provide logistical support to U.S. troops.....
Further investigation revealed that the water the troops were using was actually wastewater from a purification unit, she wrote.
Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary
Washington Post - On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.
A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.
How come there are still those who refuse to admit that Bush obviously lied? How brainwashed IS that 34%?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Serious question: where, exactly, do people propose building this wall? Half of the border is the Rio Grande River. You can't build it on the Mexican side - that doesn't belong to us. If you build it on THIS side, you cut the people of Texas off from access to the river. You can't do that - it would destroy the State's economy. What are you going to do - put a wall in the middle of the river?
I just sent him this (in their Business Reply Envelope):
I have recently received from you and the DSCC a request for money "so we can elect Democrats and take away Bush's rubberstamp."
Senator Schumer, simply put - unless you back Senator Feingold's call for censure, you aren't getting a dime out of me.
I am tired of hearing you guys tell me what you WILL do or WOULD do if only you had the majority. What are you doing NOW?
If you don't take a clear and principled public stand while you are in the minority, you aren't going to GET the majority. You don't need money - you need a spine.
It's not enough to say that IF you get the majority, you'll do something. People judge you on your current actions, not your worthless promises.
The Democrats don't even seem to trying to SLOW DOWN Bush's rubberstamp. They aren't even standing up and being counted.
What the hell are you all so afraid of? Bush is EXTREMELY UNPOPULAR. The American People OPPOSE this crap in Iraq. Why are YOU afraid to? The American People OPPOSE illegal wiretaps. Why are YOU afraid to? The American OPPOSE selling the Government to lobbyists. Why are you afraid to?
Why are you afraid of coming out LOUDLY and CLEARLY as opposing total incompetence and criminality? What the hell will it take?
You send ME these stirring letters detailing all the rotten things that Bush has done. Well, parden for asking, but why are you telling ME? I KNOW all that. I'm on your frigging mailing list. We call this preaching to the choir. Why the hell aren't you saying these things to the GENERAL PUBLIC? To the newspapers? To the press?
The people in the White House are plain criminals. If you meekly refuse to try and do anything about it, why would I support you?
SUPPORT THE CENSURE OF GEORGE W. BUSH.
If you don't, then you don't deserve MY support, and I will gladly work to have you replaced with REAL Democrats who will actually behave like an opposition party.
"And by the way, I read the articles in the newspapers this weekend. It was just wild speculation, by the way. What you're reading is wild speculation, which . . . happens quite frequently here in the nation's capital."
Gee, something about that phrase "wild speculation" just doesn't make me rest easy.
After all, Bush says stuff like that all the time.
"Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations." - Bush, Third Bush-Kerry Debate
"And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you." - Bush
Bush's claims aren't worth a hill of beans.
Because we are the sort of nation that refuses to sign the Kyoto protocols, but tells other people that they'd better not pollute, that's why.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Here's a NEW bullet hole:
Phone-Jamming Records Point to White House
WASHINGTON - Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.
The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 — as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.
The Republican officialdom says that that's "preposterous."
The national Republican Party, which paid millions in legal bills to defend Tobin, says the contacts involved routine election business and that it was "preposterous" to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.
WHY, exactly, is it "preposterous"?
Preposterous to suspect THIS crew of dirty tricks?
When have they done ANYTHING the honest way?
Seriously - we are cursed with a media corps that is dedicated to minimizing right-wing criminality. And the only reason it isn't working is because there is SO MUCH criminality.
NEW YORK TIMES
April 10, 2006
"But he wouldn't do that." That sentiment is what made it possible for President Bush to stampede America into the Iraq war and to fend off hard questions about the reasons for that war until after the 2004 election. Many people just didn't want to believe that an American president would deliberately mislead the nation on matters of war and peace.
Now people with contacts in the administration and the military warn that Mr. Bush may be planning another war. The most alarming of the warnings come from Seymour Hersh, the veteran investigative journalist who broke the Abu Ghraib scandal. Writing in The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh suggests that administration officials believe that a bombing campaign could lead to desirable regime change in Iran — and that they refuse to rule out the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible. It's wishful thinking.
As it happens, rumors of a new war coincide with the emergence of evidence that appears to confirm our worst suspicions about the war we're already in.
First, it's clearer than ever that Mr. Bush, who still claims that war with Iraq was a last resort, was actually spoiling for a fight. The New York Times has confirmed the authenticity of a British government memo reporting on a prewar discussion between Mr. Bush and Tony Blair. In that conversation, Mr. Bush told Mr. Blair that he was determined to invade Iraq even if U.N. inspectors came up empty-handed.
Second, it's becoming increasingly clear that Mr. Bush knew that the case he was presenting for war — a case that depended crucially on visions of mushroom clouds — rested on suspect evidence. For example, in the 2003 State of the Union address Mr. Bush cited Iraq's purchase of aluminum tubes as clear evidence that Saddam was trying to acquire a nuclear arsenal. Yet Murray Waas of the National Journal reports that Mr. Bush had been warned that many intelligence analysts disagreed with that assessment.
Was the difference between Mr. Bush's public portrayal of the Iraqi threat and the actual intelligence he saw large enough to validate claims that he deliberately misled the nation into war? Karl Rove apparently thought so. According to Mr. Waas, Mr. Rove "cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged" if the contents of an October 2002 "President's Summary" containing dissents about the significance of the aluminum tubes became public.
Now there are rumors of plans to attack Iran. Most strategic analysts think that a bombing campaign would be a disastrous mistake. But that doesn't mean it won't happen: Mr. Bush ignored similar warnings, including those of his own father, about the risks involved in invading Iraq.
As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, the administration seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that it used on Iraq: "The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops."
Why might Mr. Bush want another war? For one thing, Mr. Bush, whose presidency is increasingly defined by the quagmire in Iraq, may believe that he can redeem himself with a new Mission Accomplished moment.
And it's not just Mr. Bush's legacy that's at risk. Current polls suggest that the Democrats could take one or both houses of Congress this November, acquiring the ability to launch investigations backed by subpoena power. This could blow the lid off multiple Bush administration scandals. Political analysts openly suggest that an attack on Iran offers Mr. Bush a way to head off this danger, that an appropriately timed military strike could change the domestic political dynamics.
Does this sound far-fetched? It shouldn't. Given the combination of recklessness and dishonesty Mr. Bush displayed in launching the Iraq war, why should we assume that he wouldn't do it again?
Hersh says that they are mulling tactical nukes. I think that much is bluster - it's the old strategy, indulged in by many six-year-olds, of proposing something totally extreme, to make something less extreme seem not so bad.
But it's very easy to believe that they will attack Iran, because it's the MO of these maniacs. Just like Iraq, they've had a hard-on for attacking Iran since before Bush was even in office, and they have needed an excuse. And just like Iraq, Iran is worth a whole lot of money to George's cronies.
The fact that Georgie's Iraqi Adventure turned out to be so disastrous has forced them to put Iran on the backburner. But now poor George sees the possibility of attacking Iran slipping away with the passage of time. So of COURSE he needs to figure out how to do it before he leaves office. He may never have another chance. And he needs war to make him feel like a man. As long as somebody else does the actual fighting.
Of course, you would think that the fact they they've completely decimated the United States Army would slow them down. But they can always withdraw from Iraq to give them a few extra troops for Iran.
I think that by November, George will suddenly pull out of Iraq and leave them to rot - Iraq is no longer useful to him. And then announce the invasion of Iran, on the grounds that Iran is a terrible danger to us all. And he will claim that he needs no Congressional approval, because the authorization to invade Iraq was really ALSO an authorization to invade Iran.
What may stop him? A serious outcry from the hard-right. George couldn't care less if such an action is opposed by almost every human being in America. He only cares if it's opposed buy right-wing extremists. If the Republican Congess can convince him that it would be POLITICALLY disastrous (Bush couldn't care less about any other kind of disaster) that may do it.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
"Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."
-- George Herbert Walker Bush, 1999
Me too, George, me too.
Gee - Bush said he wanted to know who the leaker was.
"[I]f there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of. ... I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action." - George W. Bush, September 30, 2003He knew who the leaker was.
"Yes, I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them, I am sure." - Condoleezza Rice
FARGO, N.D., April 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says he's puzzled by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks that many tactical errors were made in Iraq.
"I don't know what she was talking about, to be perfectly honest," Rumsfeld said in an interview on WDAY-AM in Fargo, N.D., when asked about the remark.
Rumsfeld said her remark suggested she didn't understand warfare, the Washington Post reported.
I knew that you could.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Civilians take up arms amid Iraqi violence.
Iraqis are being targeted at an unprecedented rate. Wary of the ability of police and soldiers to provide protection, civilians are attempting to provide their own security, relying on neighbors and family or hiring armed guards.
In the 29-day period following the mosque attack, 955 people were murdered in Baghdad province, which includes the capital city and its outskirts, according to the U.S. military.
That's more than the number of murders in New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, Boston and Seattle combined for all of 2004, according to the
FBI. Those cities have a combined population of 10.8 million, compared with Baghdad province's 7 million.
An additional 146 Baghdad residents were killed in bombings during that period, according to the U.S. military.
WE caused this disaster.
And the clueless-in-charge don't even have the decency to be ashamed.
Monday, April 03, 2006
CNN.com - Ex-DeLay aide pleads guilty to fraud - Mar 31, 2006
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A former senior aide to Rep. Tom DeLay pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to fraud conspiracy, saying he joined a scheme with lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others to enrich themselves and illegally influence members of Congress.
Rudy faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, but the court said he was likely to get much less time if he keeps his promise to cooperate with prosecutors.
Yeah, that might do it.
Something is going on. DeLay just won a primary, and did better in it than anyone, including me, predicted. And gave no HINT during that primary - in fact, no hint before now - that he was thinking of dropping out.
I could be wrong, but I think something very ugly is about to break with the man's name all over it.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Let's recap the gigantic Public Relations triumph that was Condoleezza Rice's trip to England.
Something inside me tells me that I SHOULD feel sorry for her, but no matter how hard I try, I just can't.
Rice went to England as a sort of reciprocation for Jack Straw's visit here (Jack Straw, in case you didn't know, is the British Foreign Secretary who sounds like a character in a nursery rhyme). Straw is Rice's British counterpart, and when he was in the United States, Rice showed him around her hometown of Birmingham. So Straw invited her to England to look around HIS old stomping grounds in Blackburn, Lancashire, England (even though the place had enough holes to fill the Albert Hall). Isn't that nice?
So the first thing Straw did was invite her to a soccer match.
But the team, the Blackburn Rovers, wound up rescheduling the soccer match for the sake of TV revenues. So Straw took Rice on a tour of an empty soccer stadium instead.
Then Straw took her to his old school, Pleckgate High School. Most of the students are Indian and Pakistani, and Straw wanted to show her how diverse they were.
But let us just say that the Indian and Pakistani students were not happy to see Dr. Rice, at all, at all. In fact, they were sort of screaming things.
Things like "Condi, go home!"
And, "Hey, Condi, hey, how many kids did you kill today?"
And "Who let the bombs out?"
Since Blackburn is close to Liverpool, Rice thought it would be neat to meet Sir Paul McCartney (who wouldn't?).
But Sir Paul declined the invitation, so poor Condi never got to meet him.
She took a tour of his school instead. And saw a performance at the Paul McCartney Theatre.
And when she got to the Paul McCartney Theatre, the first thing she saw - standing abreast right inside the front door - were six people wearing black T-shirts that said, "No torture. No compromise." With the school director's permission.
Then, in response to a question by the British Press, she tossed out THIS little winner:
"Yes, I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them, I am sure."
By evening's end she was (ahem) assuring everybody that she was only speaking "figuratively, not literally." Which, I suppose, means that by "thousands," she meant, oh, I don't know, four or something.
Her embarrassing gaffe was preceded by a talk from Douglas Hurd, Maggie Thatcher's Foreign Secretary and Straw's predecessor. In her presence, Hurd said this:
"The world only works if the world's only superpower follows the rules like everyone else."
Of course, Hurd was too polite to say precisely who he was referring to by "the world's only superpower."
On Friday night, they went to a performance by the Liverpool Philharmonic.
The host cancelled his appearance to protest Rice's visit.
One of the performers sang John Lennon's Imagine, and dedicated it to "the protesters outside," and spliced a piece of "Give Peace a Chance" into the song.
Then they decided to visit Masjide al-Hidayah mosque. A fine symbolic gesture.
But the mosque decided that they had had symbolic gestures up to here. They cancelled the visit. They had received many angry phone calls from many angry people threatening to "invade" the mosque should Rice show her face.
So it looks like Rice got an up-close-and-personal view of just what England thinks of Mr. Bush and his policies.
And it seems pretty obvious that they aren't his ally.
They are ours.