Wednesday, March 28, 2007

POLITICS - "On the lonely road I'm traveling on"

On the lonely road I'm traveling on
The road that leads nowhere
As the ground and the sky have been wondering why
I'm alone, so alone
I've been rolling on for just two years

I'm Alone, Lyrics by Deep Purple

"A President All Alone" by Robert D. Novak, Washington Post

Two weeks earlier on Capitol Hill, there was a groundswell of Republican demands -- public and private -- that President Bush pardon Scooter Libby. Last week, as Alberto Gonzales came under withering Democratic fire, there were no public GOP declarations of support amid private predictions of the attorney general's demise.

Republican leaders in Congress, who asked not to be quoted by name, predicted early last week that Gonzales would fall because the Justice Department botched the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. By week's end, they stipulated that the president would not sack his longtime aide and that Gonzales would leave only on his own initiative. But there was still an ominous lack of congressional support for the attorney general.

"Gonzales never has developed a base of support for himself up here," a House Republican leader told me. But this is less a Gonzales problem than a Bush problem. With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone. In half a century, I have not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress -- not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.

Republicans in Congress do not trust their president to protect them. That alone is sufficient reason to withhold statements of support for Gonzales, because such a gesture could be quickly followed by his resignation under pressure. Rep. Adam Putnam (Fla.), the highly regarded young chairman of the House Republican Conference, praised Donald Rumsfeld in November only to see him sacked shortly thereafter.

But not many Republican lawmakers would speak up for Gonzales even if they were sure Bush would stick with him. He is the least popular Cabinet member on Capitol Hill, even more disliked than Rumsfeld was. The word most often used by Republicans to describe the management of the Justice Department under Gonzales is "incompetent."

Frankly, I hope that Bush et al feel even lonelier and lonelier for the next two years. The only tragic thing, as I have stated before, we will pay in American lives and dollars until he's gone into oblivion.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

POLITICS - Live, From San Diego

"Checked and Balanced" by Mike V.

Note to Bush: This is how it works, Chimp Boy.

When he says that the congress must "accept his offer to have top aides testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath" the correct answer to that is, "fuck off, asshole". Well, what Leahy said was, "Testimony should be on the record and under oath. That's the formula for true accountability".


Thank you, Senator.

It's about fucking time there was some checking going on over White House way.

Genius that he is, Bush muttered: "I'm sorry the situation has gotten to where it's got, but that's Washington, D.C., for you. You know there's a lot of politics in this town."

Wow, talk about insightful..

BTW, for those of you who are yelling about attacks "from the left" on the president (and I think there have been too few attacks) remember this from the news this week:

..the Senate on Tuesday voted 94-2 to strip Gonzales of his authority to fill U.S. attorney vacancies without Senate confirmation. Democrats contend the Justice Department and White House purged the eight federal prosecutors, some of whom were leading political corruption investigations, after a change in the USA Patriot Act gave Gonzales the new authority.

Take that, asshole.

Doesn't mince words, does he.

POLITICS - Deja Vu, Korea

"We Got Tubed—Again" by Joseph Cirincione, Foreign Policy

What once appeared the exception now seems the rule. Officials in U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration are gingerly walking back from claims that North Korea was secretly building a factory to enrich uranium for dozens of atomic bombs. The intelligence, officials now say, was not as solid as they originally trumpeted. It does not seem that the North Korean program is as large or as advanced as claimed or that the country’s leaders are as set on building weapons as officials depicted.

If this sounds familiar, it should. The original claims came during the same period officials were hyping stories of Iraq’s weapons. Once again, the claims involve aluminum tubes. Once again, there was cherry-picking and exaggeration of intelligence. Once again, the policy shaped the intelligence, with enormous national security costs. The story of Iraq is well known; that unnecessary war has cost thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and an immeasurable loss of legitimacy. This time, the administration’s decision to tear up a successful agreement—using a dubious intelligence “finding” as an excuse—propelled the tiny, isolated country to subsequently build and test nuclear weapons, threatening to trigger a new wave of proliferation.

There's more

Yap, Bush Administration = 3-ring circus or the Marks Brothers. The tragedy is there actions are costing American lives and have damaged America's prestige.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

POLITICS - Bush, aka Richard M. Nixon II

"George W. Bush and the looming shadow of Richard M. Nixon" by Doug Thompson, Capitol Hill Blue

With each passing day George W. Bush's actions more closely mirror those of another monumentally failed President: Richard M. Nixon.

Bush's performance Tuesday night trying to wiggle out of the escalating controversy over the politically-motivated firings of eight U.S. attorneys is just another example of Nixon reborn and a corrupt President trapped by his own lies and malfeasance.

By refusing to let political guru Karl Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers testify under oath before Congress, Bush is forcing a showdown that will cripple his already-weakened Presidency.

Yet Bush, like Nixon, remains arrogant until the end, determined to ignore the law, political necessity or common sense. Given the lies on top of lies that the White House has told Congress over the past six years, there is no way either the House or Senate will accept unsworn, off-the-record testimony from either Rove or Miers.

The Democratic leadership of Congress, and a growing number of Republicans, want both on the record and under oath where they can face perjury charges for the lies they will inevitably tell.

An increasingly bi-partisan anger towards the way the Bush Administration conducts its business surfaced like a tidal wave Tuesday when the Senate voted 94-2 to revoke Bush's authority to replace U.S. attorneys.

A growing number of Republicans no longer stand by their embattled and scandal-ridden President and Bush, like Nixon, is finding himself increasingly isolated from his own party and the American people.

The Bush that appeared before the cameras Tuesday night was not the swaggering Dubya of old but one with the look of a cornered animal - wounded but defiant.

As a young reporter writing about a Constitutional crisis in 1974, I saw the same look in Nixon's eyes as he scrambled for political cover amid the growing Watergate scandal. Nixon, like Bush, stood on a crumbling political base, trapped by his many lies and botched attempts to cover up his misdeeds.

Nixon released transcripts of White House conversations, calling it "extraordinary" cooperation with Congress in its probe of Watergate.

Tuesday night, Bush used pretty much the same words to describe the White House release of emails and other records on the attorney firings.

History will forever define Nixon's failed Presidency through Watergate and his flagrant attempt to subvert the Constitution..

History will forever define Bush's failed Presidency through the Iraq war debacle and his many attempts to subvert the Constitution.

Both men violated their oath to uphold the Constitution. Both failed to serve the people. Both broke the law.

One resigned in disgrace.

The final chapter on the other remains unwritten but we can be sure that the chapter, when closed, will reveal another sordid period in American history.

The ship is sinking and the Captain is staying to the last. The awful problem is he is taking America with him.

We, American citizens, need to don life jackets, man the life boats, and wave goodbye while he and his GOP crew sinks to a watery grave.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

POLITICS - A Bush Oath

They swear by God, by Christ and by the Holy Ghost; and by the Majesty of the Decider who, after God, should be the chief object of the love and veneration of mankind. For when he has once received the title of Bush the Decider, his subjects are bound to pay him the most sincere devotion and homage, as the representative of God on earth. And every man, whether in a private or military station, serves God in serving him faithfully who reigns by His authority. The soldiers, therefore, swear they will obey the Decider willingly and implicitly in all his commands, that they will never desert and will always be ready to sacrifice their lives for the Bush Empire.

This is a parity of a Roman Empire oath; but I believe it is what Bush, deep in his heart, believes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

IRAQ - Poltergeists

"Fighting For Something That Was Never There To Begin With" by Ken Grandlund, Common Sense

No, I'm not talking about the WMD's that were going to appear in a "mushroom cloud" if American failed to dethrone Saddam Hussein. I'm talking about the unified, democratic Iraq theory that is now driving America's misguided military misadventure. But the two are cut from the same cloth. Just as there never were any significant amounts of chemical and biological weapons (outdated, nearly inert sarin gas or low grade anthrax remains for example) and no nuclear programs to be discovered in Iraq, there is no real historical or cultural justification for maintaining the arbitrary lines that mark that country on today's maps.

The House of Cards Bush Built

IRAQ - More Lies on Top of Lies, Blackwater Inc.

"Blackwater" by Dr. Forbush, at Bring it On!

On March 31, 2004 the world was shocked as they witnessed images of four burned bodies hanging from a bridge in Fallujah, Iraq. We were told that these men were American contractors hired to secure food deliveries. The interesting thing was that the families of these men were actually told a different story. They were told that they were hired as a special military detailed to protect Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Somebody wasn’t getting the story straight.

These four bodies were being used to rally support for the American effort in Iraq. The supporters of the war used the images to vilify the enemy and to call anyone who questioned the war as unpatriotic. The truth is that these men wouldn’t have even been in harms way if the administration had relied on American soldiers rather than military mercenaries to carry out their missions.

It turns out that the United States has about 150,000 American military in Iraq. But, we also have almost 100,000 American “contractors” in Iraq as well. And, the most aggressive of these contractors are from a company called Blackwater. The men that were hanging on that bridge back in 2004 were contractors from this company.

Journalist Jeremy Scahill has a new book out called “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army.” In this book he illuminates some of the mysteries surrounding this company. He tells us how Erik Prince, a radical right-wing Christian multimillionaire controls 20,000 troops, a military base and a fleet of 20 aircraft, but most people have never heard of his organization. Even after the macabre hanging on the bridge in 2004, people still don’t know that those men worked for Blackwater. Or, if they did, they didn’t know that those men were actually highly trained military men. Jerko “Jerry” Zovko, Wesley Batalona, Michael Teague and Stephen “Scott” Helvenston were in Iraq and they were soldiers, not contractors.

Stephen “Scott” Helvenston was not only a Navy Seal, he was a Navy Seal trainer. Michael Teague was a decorated 12-year Army veteran who had served in Afghanistan, Panama and Grenada and with a Special Operations helicopter unit nicknamed “Night Stalkers.” Jerry Zovko spoke Arabic and several other languages well enough to chat with the staff in the small hotel where he lived. Wesley Batalona was also an ex-military man an Army Ranger with experience in Panama and the first Gulf War. The point is that these four men had more military experience than many of the soldiers occupying the country at the time. So, to call them contractors actually made them sound more like innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of the terrorists who hate everything American including these poor guys who could never have provoked anyone by merely guarding the food supply to the Iraqis. At least that is what the press reports tended to imply.

But, in Jeremy Scahill’s book we see another side of this company: Blackwater. It turns out that Blackwater isn’t under the military code of conduct. The company argues that private contractors shouldn’t be subject to military laws, because they are a private contracting firm. They are actually paid through the state department, and other government departments instead of the Pentagon which stands to bolster their argument. But, they act like a roving band of mercenaries with only Erik Prince to answer to.

It turns out that the four men on the bridge had signed quite extensive contracts relieving Blackwater of almost any responsibility in the case of their deaths. But, the four families have gathered their forces anyway in order to sue Blackwater in Civil Court. It turns out that the detailed contract these men signed with Blackwater detailed how the men should be protected on their mission as well. At first Blackwater didn’t worry much about that detail, because Blackwater claimed that the details of the incident would be a military secret that could put the American forces in harms way. So, the fact that the Blackwater employees were traveling in two jeeps without the aid of a rear gunner was kept from the families for nearly two years. This action actually should void the contract and the families of these men are taking the case to court.

Lies on lies on lies infinitum.
The House of Cards Bush Built

IRAQ - British Opinion on Anniversary

"An Anniversary, Not a Celebration" by Simon Jenkins, at The Huffington Post

We are bid to celebrate the fourth birthday of a lie. In 2003 they lied about Iraq's weapons arsenal. They lied about Saddam Hussein's "imminent threat" to Britain. Some of them lied that he was involved in 9/11. Today, steeped in the psychology of denial, they lie that things are really fine, are getting better, are better than before, are on the turn.

There might have been mistakes, but there was no Great Mistake.

What of those who pretended not to lie, who slunk to the back of the room, said it was not their department, "trusted Tony", did what they were told, kept their heads down? This was the Downing Street set that covered their lies by jeering at critics and boasting they were so clever they could "write their own narrative". They hired Hutton and Butler to "handle the truth" which they carefully "did not kill but did not strive, officiously to keep alive."

Britons should not celebrate the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Celebration is for those lucky Iraqis entitled to feel genuinely better for four years of freedom from Saddam Hussein, the salutary boon to the otherwise calamitous affliction visited on their country. The important anniversary is not that of the past but of the future. Can March 2008 see five years of western intervention finally reversed and a silver lining appear on the black cloud of Mesopotamia?

The "surge" programme initiated last month by General Petraeus in Baghdad is the first intelligent thing the Americans have done in four years. By swamping neighborhoods, monitoring entry, patrolling streets and giving personal protection to residents and tradesmen troops are able to restore some order to portions of the city. Petraeus is replacing vigilantes, militias and corrupt police with his own soldiers. He cannot reverse the ethnic cleansing that is fast partitioning Baghdad into Sunni and Shia quarters, but he can stabilize what has occurred. He can fortify the ghettos.

After four years of disorder there can be little hope that such security might last. On Day 1 it might have reassured and stabilized Baghdad. On Day 1,460 it is too late. Iraq is gripped by the most rudimentary street-based gang warfare, in which security lies not in soldiers but in families, guns, walls, streets, barricades and only faces you can recognize. To call this a "civil war" is pointless, a misnomer. It is Guelphs and Ghibellines out of the Corleone mafia.

The America cannot possibly find tens of thousands of troops needed to police every block in Baghdad for months, let alone years. That Petraeus had to bring Kurdish peshmergas down from the north to support his surge speaks volumes of the uselessness of the Iraqi army and police. Embedded journalists visiting bases in Sadr city and elsewhere report that militias are simply waiting for the Americans to leave. It makes a change for Americans to be protecting Iraqis, after two years of pretending to train the Iraqi army. But the most the surge can do is give some Iraqi neighborhoods a breathing space and Washington a few nice pictures. The Iraq police, that fine flower of Pentagon nation-building, is beyond parody as a plausible force of law and order.

Turning the armed gangs into some sort of disciplined corps over the next year holds the key to civil security in Iraq. For the 2m Iraqis in internal and external exile to return to active economic life requires them to feel safe in their homes and streets. Foreigners cannot guarantee that, nor can any national army or police. They are not trusted. The coming year must see parlays between local commanders, sheikhs and religious leaders, neighborhood alliances, deals and treaties. Such crude life-and-death negotiations will be the only shreds of civil autonomy left to the Iraqis after four years of occupation, all that is left to them with which to rebuild their civic institutions.

....there's more.

The House of Cards Bush Built

POLITICS - 2008 Buzz

OK, so I passing an election "viral-commercial," but it is really good.

MILITARY - Quintessential Example, NOT Ready

"Army Brigade Finds Itself Stretched Thin" by David S. Cloud, New York Times

FORT POLK, La., March 14 — For decades, the Army has kept a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on round-the-clock alert, poised to respond to a crisis anywhere in 18 to 72 hours.

Today, the so-called ready brigade is no longer so ready. Its soldiers are not fully trained, much of its equipment is elsewhere, and for the past two weeks the unit has been far from the cargo aircraft it would need in an emergency.

Instead of waiting on standby, the First Brigade of the 82nd Airborne is deep in the swampy backwoods of this vast Army training installation, preparing to go to Iraq. Army officials concede that the unit is not capable of getting at least an initial force of several hundred to a war zone within 18 hours, a standard once considered inviolate.

The declining readiness of the brigade is just one measure of the toll that four years in Iraq — and more than five years in Afghanistan — have taken on the United States military. Since President Bush ordered reinforcements to Iraq and Afghanistan in January, roughly half of the Army’s 43 active-duty combat brigades are now deployed overseas, Army officials said. A brigade has about 3,500 soldiers.

Pentagon officials worry that among the just over 20 Army brigades left in the United States or at Army bases in Europe and Asia, none has enough equipment and manpower to be sent quickly into combat, except for an armored unit stationed permanently in South Korea, several senior Army officers said.

"None has enough equipment and manpower to be sent quickly into combat," with only one exception! And the Bush Administration has the audacity to claim to be protecting America?! BS

Thursday, March 15, 2007

POLITICS - The Bush Economy, Again

"Trade deficit hits record high for fifth straight year" by By Martin Crutsinger, AP

The deficit in the broadest measure of trade hit an all-time high in 2006 and for the first time the United States even ran a deficit on investment income.

The Commerce Department reported that the imbalance in the current account jumped by 8.2 percent to $856.7 billion, representing a record 6.5 percent of the total economy. It marked the fifth straight year the current account deficit set a record.

Investment flows turned negative by $7.3 billion from a surplus of $11.3 billion in 2005. It was the first time investment income has been negative on records going back to 1929. That means foreigners earned more on their U.S. holdings than Americans earned on their overseas investments.

While the U.S. has run deficits in its trade in goods every year since 1976, until last year it had still been able to record a surplus in investments.

Analysts said that figure turned negative because of the large amount of U.S. assets that have been transferred to foreign hands over the past three decades to pay for the imported cars, clothing and electronic goods American consumers love to buy.

“The hope is that the transition to a lower current account deficit goes smoothly, but the danger is that people stop loaning us money before they start buying our goods,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.

The current account is the broadest measure of trade because it covers not only trade in goods and services but also investment flows between countries. It also represents the amount of U.S. assets that have been transferred into foreign hands to cover the gap between American exports and imports.

For all of 2006, the United States had a goods deficit of $836 billion, a surplus in services of $70.7 billion and a deficit in investment flows of $7.3 billion. In addition, the government paid out $84.1 billion in a category known as unilateral transfers, which covers foreign aid.

The report also showed that foreign direct investment to buy or expand companies in the United States jumped 67 percent to $183.6 billion last year, the highest level in six years. This increase came in spite of the controversy over efforts by Dubai Ports World to take over operations at several U.S. ports.

Ah, yes, and Bush still gives tax brakes to companies who take their business overseas along with American jobs. More and more of America is owned by foreign interests. If this continues, ordinary Americans will have no investment left in our nation. We all will be just be employees of foreign interests and Big Busine$$.

RANT - Harry and Louise Health Care

"HARRY AND LOUISE HEATH CARE - Privatization is Theft" by Raleigh Myers

In general everything that has been privatized has been a disaster from water works to transportation. Why then are we putting up with the corporatization of health care = misery for profit. When Nixon began with the HMO crisis we should have used the rule of thumb: If the GOP wants it, it has to be bogus.

TOBACCO OWNED HMOs Harry and Louise should have been a tip off. The appeal to the superstitious has in essence out noised the fact that the creators of that 'your true choice' deception management campaign have been able to capture the ownership of the health care pie and now we have triage through arbitrage, greenshades deciding health care matters rather than doctors. Also you can pay a thousand dollars for a room that cost you one hundred dollars in a hospital that you used to own before privatization and your family doctor has been hijacked.

But we fall short of realizing the danger of this group of later day pirates controlling who lives or dies literally _ monopoly cartel food production and distribution, to tobacco owned health care systems for example, with the same stockholder, bond holder, arbitrageurs, Organized Usury owning the whole show. In other words their ideal is to get civilization to work for pesticide contaminated food(eugenics), get them addicted to tobacco and profit while they battle for their lives in a privatized health care system, triage through arbitrage. This is not so different from the morgue answering the phone with 'You stab em we slab em' while they get you to vote against your own self interests.

The Schwarzenegger Romney health care for profit. "Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal would make Californians pay tens of billions to insurance companies for defective coverage. What he forgot to mention was that most people bankrupted by illness had exactly the kind of faulty coverage he wants to force Californians to buy. "Then, the tipoff: 'You must let everyone make their profits,'he declared. "Come again? It's insurance companies' bloated overhead and record profits that are the biggest driver of health care cost increases. Of course, part of that bloat comes from the $3.5 million the health industry has contributed to Arnold's political campaigns.

The profits in the pharmaceutical war against the people are interesting.

AARP and Social Security Privatization our 70s version = Organized Usury's theft in real time.

Organized Usury or organized money as FDR put it, is the key to planet destruction.

Profit for some or care for all?

When it comes to Corporatism the only way out is to begin subtracting from it Gandhi style.

The macro mode is to change the way we interface with the planet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

POLITICS - Gestapo Alberto Gonzales

"A White House Hand in the Firings?" by Adam Zagorin, Time Magazine

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has characterized the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys as an "overblown personnel matter." If so, it is a personnel matter that appears to have involved the White House. A spokeswoman for the President revealed the White House's deep involvement in the decision to dismiss the prosecutors, a step that involved former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, Presidential adviser Karl Rove and, apparently, even Bush himself. Meanwhile, Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Gonzales and the official in charge of drawing up the list of fired prosecutors, has resigned amid continuing allegations that the eight — all Republicans — were ousted for political reasons, including their refusal to bring corruption charges against Democrats in the period leading up to last year's mid-term elections.

As the scandal escalated, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino cast doubt on whether President Bush was personally told about, or shown, a list of the targeted prosecutors. But Perino confirmed that Rove had discussed dismissing all U.S. attorneys after the 2004 election — as proposed by then-counsel Harriet Miers — and argued against the idea. But Bush did speak directly with Gonzales to pass along complaints from Republican lawmakers about prosecutors, according to the New York Times. Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, was among those who complained to the President. Domenici was particularly focused on David Iglesias of New Mexico in the period leading into the 2006 congressional election.

Over the weekend, Allen Weh, a senior Republican official in New Mexico told McClatchy newspapers that he had called Rove to obtain the dismissal of the state's U.S. attorney, David Iglesias. "Is anything ever going to happen to that guy?" Weh said he asked Rove at a White House holiday event. "He's gone," Rove said, according to Weh. But White House spokeswoman Perino is quoted in reports as saying, "White House officials including the President did not direct DOJ to take any specific action with regards to any specific U.S. attorney." In other words, decisions about which federal prosecutors should be fired were apparently made at the Justice Department by Gonzales or his subordinates.

Add even more to the Gonzales' move to an Imperial Presidency.

Monday, March 12, 2007

POLITICS - Alert! Alert! Bomb Detected!

"National debt load is a fiscal time bomb" by David Lazarus, San Francisco Chronicle

Let's say someone is spending about 11 percent of his or her paycheck to cover interest on outstanding debt. Erica Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco, says she'd immediately advise that person to seek help.

"This is a huge amount of a person's paycheck just to make ends meet," Sandberg said. "That's never smart. If you're borrowing that much, you might feel good for the short term. But over the long haul, you're going to be in real trouble."

As the national debt approaches a staggering $9 trillion, roughly $240 billion will be spent this year paying interest on the half that's held by public creditors (of which Japan and China are the largest). That translates to about 11 percent of projected tax revenue.

In other words, we're spending more on interest for our national credit card bill than was spent last year in discretionary funds for the Education, Veterans Affairs and Justice departments combined.

And at the rate we're borrowing, experts say, the amount of annual interest payments could double within 10 years.

All thanks to the Bush Administration and Congress. The question we should be asking, "Is this a greater threat to America than al-Qaeda?"

Thursday, March 01, 2007


"Iraq and Back, Bob Woodruff Reports" ABC News video

This link is to the video report on the events leading to, and after, Bob Woodruff was almost killed in an attack while on assignment in Iraq.

While his personal story is, in fact, a miracle; it is also a demonstration of the outrageous behavior of the Bush Administration and his DOD.
  • The "official" reporting of only 23,000 injuries (Iraq + Afghanistan) when the VA is actually treating 200,000+

  • In the segment "The Human Cost of War," one interviewee stats that the difference is there because of a "gag order" issued to DOD personnel not to talk about this issue to the media.

This is totally unacceptable! This is the Bush Administration lying to the American people so he can justify continuing his war!