Friday, March 31, 2006

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Does the White House NSA defense come from John Mitchell?

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Does the White House NSA defense come from John Mitchell?

This is one of the very best and most comprehensive sources of information and clear thinking regarding the NSA "wiretapping" activity and it's ramifications for the American people. Check it out. Often!

And He Ought To Know!

John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping - New York Times:
"After The New York Times revealed the program in December, Dean wrote that ''Bush may have outdone Nixon'' and be worthy not just of censure but impeachment."

And He Ought To Know!

John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping - New York Times: "After The New York Times revealed the program in December, Dean wrote that ''Bush may have outdone Nixon'' and be worthy not just of censure but impeachment."

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Thoughts on the Censure Hearing

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Thoughts on the Censure Hearing:
"I’m just feeling a bit disgusted at the lack of participation by Senators on both sides of the aisle on this, who have decided to put short-term political considerations above concerns for the long-term welfare of our Constitutional Republic. And I can’t help but sit here and hum that 'We the People…' song about the Preamble to the Constitution from those old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons I used to watch as a kid. And wonder how anyone in a position such as this, who has taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, can then sit back and not do so in this very situation."

Christy get's it right, and I can taste her feelings of anger and disgust with what's going on in the Capital. Oh, wait, that's my own bile coming up. She is so right!

Former DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy - New York Times

Former DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy - New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, March 31 — A onetime top aide to Representative Tom DeLay, the former House Republican majority leader, pleaded guilty to conspiracy today and agreed to cooperate in a widening investigation into lobbying fraud and influence-peddling."

That's no whoopy cushion your're hearing. It's Delay's head imploding with worry.

Levee Plans Fall Short of FEMA Standards - New York Times

Levee Plans Fall Short of FEMA Standards - New York Times:
But since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the agency has toughened its 100-year standard, based on new information about land subsidence and the increasing severity and frequency of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. There is also new data about weak soils in the area and the failure of some of the city's floodwalls.

As a result, the levees that the Army Corps of Engineers is now building will not meet the new FEMA standard. Donald Powell, the federal coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding, said Thursday that the Corps now believes it cannot meet that standard without spending additional billions to upgrade the flood protection system still further.
They didn't exactly meet their own standards the first time! Am I the only one who gets the impression that they're just spinning their wheels until the next big one hits? An there will be more, I'm afraid, in a shorter time than anyone currently expects.

John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping

My Way News - John Dean Blasts Warrantless Eavesdropping:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Nixon White House counselor John Dean asserted Friday that President Bush's domestic spying exceeds the wrongdoing that toppled his former boss from power, and Sen. Orrin Hatch snapped that Democrats were trying to 'score political points' with a motion to censure Bush.

'Had the Senate or House, or both, censured or somehow warned Richard Nixon, the tragedy of Watergate might have been prevented,' Dean told the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'Hopefully the Senate will not sit by while even more serious abuses unfold before it.'

Testifying to a Senate committee on Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold's resolution to censure Bush, Dean said the president 'needs to be told he cannot simply ignore a law with no consequences.'
And who (besides you and Feingold) is going to tell him? I guess we'll all have to come November; if we're still a democracy by then.

Not So Fast!

My Way News - 1965 Voting Rights Provisions to Expire:
In 1965, Congress found 'rampant racial discrimination' in Southern elections, he said. 'By today however, the data simply do not support a similar finding.'

But Adegbile, the NAACP defense fund lawyer, said some provisions in the law are important, especially a section that requires federal approval for election changes.

Adegbile said that in Louisiana alone, the Justice Department has blocked nearly 100 proposed election changes since 1982. The changes, he said, would have diminished or weakened minority voter participation.

The debate continues as election troubles from 2000 and 2004 remain a sore spot for many. Long lines, flawed lists of ineligible voters, faulty ballots and machines - often in predominantly black precincts - were among the problems that plagued the elections.
Sure, you don't have to be black to be disenfranchised these days. You could be liberal, or gay, or a Democrat, or....

Thursday, March 30, 2006

You Think It's Not About Oil?

My Way Finance:
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil climbed further above $66 on Thursday, toward its $70 record, after Iran rejected a U.N. Security Council demand that it halt uranium enrichment.

'There's got to be a crunch point over Iran,' said Geoff Pyne, an independent oil analyst. 'At the end of the day Iran is intent on uranium enrichment and the West won't allow it.'
If Iraq didn't have oil, Saddam would still be in power. If Iran didn't have oil, would we still be all over them about uranium? Maybe. Would we be talking about pre-emptive strikes? Maybe not.

Now if They'd Only Do The Same For Oil And Pharmaceuticals

My Way News - House Moves to Update Higher Education Law:
Bill sponsors hope to have influence over tuition, for example, by ordering schools that raise prices significantly to face scrutiny.

Any school that increases its tuition more than twice the rate of inflation over a three-year period would have to explain why.
So much for a free-market approach! Why not just adjust student aid according to cost? Is education less worthy than, say, energy or health? Seems to me one leads to the other because without education we lose our edge on the others. But that's just me thinking.

Reps Dodge And Weave On Immigration

My Way News - Consensus on Immigration Bill Elusive:
However, there is a growing consensus among lawmakers that any merging of the House and Senate measures so that Congress could send a bill to President Bush won't occur until after the November election.

'What you end up doing is the House has passed a bill, the Senate passed a bill and everybody declares victory and you don't get anything out of conference between now and the elections,' said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Yep, wouldn't want to piss off all those other immigrants; you know, the ones with citizenship that can vote and all?

G.O.P. Risking Hispanic Votes on Immigration - New York Times

G.O.P. Risking Hispanic Votes on Immigration - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, March 29 — The battle among Republicans over immigration policy and border security is threatening to undercut a decade-long effort by President Bush and his party to court Hispanic voters, just as both parties are gearing up for the 2006 elections.

'I believe the Republican Party has hurt itself already,' said the Rev. Luis Cortes, a Philadelphia pastor close to President Bush and the leader of a national organization of Hispanic Protestant clergy members, saying he delivered that message to the president last week in a meeting at the White House.

To underscore the contested allegiance of Hispanic voters, Mr. Cortes said, he also took a delegation of Hispanic ministers to meet with the leaders of both parties last week, including what he called a productive discussion with Howard Dean, the Democratic chairman.
So, let them shoot themselves in the foot over this. If I were a Dem in Congress, I'd be shouting from the rooftops about cuts to education, healthcare, etc. The only way to solve some of the problems that exist, including illegal immigrants, is to eliminate poverty both here and abroad. We could do it, along with some of the other developed nations, if everybody pulled together and gave according to their means; as in: if the rich pitched in with some real money instead of hoovering it up faster than they can spend it! Let's face it, greed runs the world, and it's causing a lot of problems. Only a concerted effort by the majority classes in every nation will break this cycle. We need somebody like a Martin Luther King or Ghandi to inspire the masses and transcend the bullshit. Maybe a few of each, using the internet and, eventually, mass communication once the media is back on track.

Senate Approves Lobbying Limits by Wide Margin - New York Times

Senate Approves Lobbying Limits by Wide Margin - New York Times:
The measure would not ban private travel, as some members have urged. Nor would it rein in lawmakers' ability to fly on corporate jets at heavily discounted rates, a practice that gives precious access to lobbyists, who often go along for the trip.

The measure would not do away with earmarks, though it would make it more difficult for lawmakers to insert the pet projects quietly into bills at lobbyists' behest. And the Senate overwhelmingly rejected, 30 to 67, a move to create an independent ethics office to investigate accusations of abuse.
Trouble is, there are no limits on the things that matter. Bribes are bribes, folks, no matter what you call them. Get BigMoney out of government, for crying out loud! It's as bad as religion!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Republican Split on Immigration Reflects Nation's Struggle - New York Times

Republican Split on Immigration Reflects Nation's Struggle - New York Times:
The Senate Republicans who voted on Monday to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants look at the waves of immigration reshaping this country and see a powerful work force, millions of potential voters and future Americans.

The House Republicans who backed tough border security legislation in December look at the same group of people and see a flood of invaders and lawbreakers who threaten national security and American jobs and culture.
Seems like a schism forming within the Repug party. Be still my heart! The only problem is, both sides are wrong because they don't do anything to address the real problems of poverty and standard of living. The Reps don't see the problem, so how could they?

Teens Arrested in Water Facility Break-In

My Way News - Teens Arrested in Water Facility Break-In:
BLACKSTONE, Mass. (AP) - Authorities charged two teenagers in connection with a break-in at a water facility and expected to charge a third as more than 9,000 area residents waited Wednesday to hear if their drinking water had been contaminated.

The teens are suspected of cutting the barbed wire at the facility late Monday, cutting lines to an alarm, and then damaging an electrical panel and a vent at the top of a 1.3-million-gallon water storage tank, said Blackstone Police Lt. Gregory Gilmore.

A 5-gallon container with an odor was found on top of the tank, but authorities do not yet know what, if anything, was put into the water.

Gilmore said the teens became suspects after talking about the incident at school.
Yep, just a couple of teenage boys sowing their wild oats (and whatever else they can think of throwing into the town's water supply). Who needs terrorists?

Extension of Voting Act Is Likely Despite Criticism - New York Times

Extension of Voting Act Is Likely Despite Criticism - New York Times

Who needs a voting act any more, since the elections are fixed anyway? It's not like anybody has been disenfranchised in the last two elections. Oh, wait, it is like that.

Senate Debates Amendment to Ethics Bill

My Way News - Senate Debates Amendment to Ethics Bill

The amendment was to drop the part about enforcing ethics charges, which of course is totally unnecessary as is obvious just from reading the news.

Just Trying To Make A Buck

My Way News: "
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - President Vicente Fox paused for a long moment before answering a question on how long it would take Mexico to reach a stage where citizens no longer want to cross the U.S. border to seek work.

'Generations,' he finally said.

'It's a long way to narrow the gap ... between incomes in Mexico and on the other side of the border,' he said in a recent interview with Reuters.

That income gap is the principal reason why hundreds of thousands of Mexicans cross the border with the U.S. illegally to seek work -- yet it rarely figures in the heated and increasingly emotional debate over immigration now raging in the United States.

Roughly half of Mexico's population lives on less than $5 a day, according to government figures. The U.S. minimum wage is $5.15 an hour. Annual Mexican Gross Domestic Product per capita is just under $7,000. It is almost $44,000 in the United States.
Of course, the mean salary is much lower than $44,000, but what the heck. It's still lots more than they can get in Mexico. The real solution is to raise the standard of living in Mexico, but who has time to do that when there's so much to do to lower the standard here?

Judges Back Court Review of Eavesdropping

My Way News - Judges Back Court Review of Eavesdropping:
The administration contends the president has inherent war powers under the Constitution to order eavesdropping without warrants.

'I am very wary of inherent authority' claimed by presidents, testified U.S. Magistrate Judge Allan Kornblum. 'It sounds very much like King George.'
A judge with a sense of humor! We have a chance with Roberts recused, though Scalia should have recused himself as well. We'll see.

Fake ID's at the Border Crossings - New York Times

Fake ID's at the Border Crossings - New York Times: "The good news is that the detectors signaled the presence of radioactivity and that inspectors then questioned the undercover testers and subjected their vehicles to further inspection with hand-held devices. The bad news is that they allowed the shipments through anyway, apparently on the basis of counterfeit Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents, copied from the Internet, and fake shipping documents from a fictitious company."

We used to use fake id's to get into bars. Sheesh!

Seriously, though, this is serious. The terrorists know how to use our bureaucracy against us. Hey! At least the detectors worked. Now, when they get in the machines to check the id's....

Not Quite What We Had in Mind - New York Times

Not Quite What We Had in Mind - New York Times:
"If this is what passes for a shake-up in this administration, the next two and a half years are going to be grim indeed. This is a meaningless change, and it simply sends the message that Mr. Bush lacks the gumption to trade in anyone in the comforting, friendly cast of characters who have kept him cocooned since his first inauguration."

And I didn't even have to say it myself.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Supreme Court Questions Military Trials - New York Times

Supreme Court Questions Military Trials - New York Times:
Several justices seemed deeply concerned that the government had gone too far in its plans to hold a special trial for Osama bin Laden's former driver on a conspiracy charge.

Some were downright indignant over the Bush administration's claim that a new federal law bars the high court from ruling in the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan.
It would seem that, even with all the stacking that's been done, we still have a majority of SCOTUS willing to follow the Constitution and not just somebody's wishes. Let's hope this is true and that it lasts long enough to put BushCo out of business.

Still No Real Protection From Terrorism

My Way News:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has not adequately protected itself against the nightmare scenario of a nuclear attack by terrorists, the head of the panel that investigated the September 11, 2001, attacks said on Tuesday.

Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean told a Senate panel that neither the Bush administration nor Congress has done all it can to protect American lives and the U.S. economy: 'The size of the problem still totally dwarfs the policy response.'
Listen to what I say, don't pay attention to what I do. Sorry, George, you've blown it bigtime and now you're going to have to pay the piper. People want real protections from real dangers, and you're just not providing them. In fact, you're one of the dangers!

Shiites Say U.S. Is Pressuring Iraqi Leader to Step Aside - New York Times

Shiites Say U.S. Is Pressuring Iraqi Leader to Step Aside - New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 28 — Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country's leader in the next government."

So, democracy's on the march; except when people freely and democratically decide to elect someone we don't like. See, that's the trouble with democracy: people make the damnedness decisions sometimes. Hey, just look at the U.S. Oh, right, we didn't actually elect BushCo; they elected themselves! Sorry about that. Maybe this time someone will actually be watching what's going on. As for the Iraqis, this is what you get when you ignore the lessons of history and your own intelligence and military.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration

The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration

Or, why BushCo is so dangerous to America.

My Way News - Call for Censuring Bush Boosts Feingold

My Way News - Call for Censuring Bush Boosts Feingold

Feingold gets it, and if this also helps him in his run, then the other Dems have only themselves to blame for not showing some gumption now before it's popular. You go, Russ!

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says - New York Times

Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says - New York Times:
...But behind closed doors, the president was certain that war was inevitable. During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by The New York Times.
And were they so anxious to go to was with Iraq?
The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable. Mr. Bush predicted that it was "unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups." Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment.
And to what extremes were our leaders ready to go in order to guarantee war in Iraq, a country they knew to be uninvolved with the 9/11 attacks?
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein.
Nothing and nobody were going to stop BushCo from invading Iraq, a country with roughly one-third of the world's oil reserves.

Like I Said

Shiite Fighters Clash With G.I.'s and Iraqi Forces - New York Times:
"The differing versions of what happened seemed to raise a broader question about who is in control of Iraq's security at a time when Iraqi politicians still have not formed a unified government, sectarian tensions are higher than ever and mutilated bodies keep surfacing on the streets. On Sunday, Iraqi authorities found 10 bodies in Baghdad and said they were investigating a report that 30 men were beheaded near Baquba."

"The Didn't Come Here For Disney."

My Way News - Moussaoui Witness Points to Missed Chances:
The witness, former FBI agent Erik Rigler, was questioned about a Justice Department report that he said criticized the CIA for keeping intelligence about two known al-Qaida terrorist operatives in the United States from the FBI for more than a year.

The two were among the 19 suicide hijackers on 9/11. The report said they had been placed on a watch list in Thailand in January 2000, but not on a U.S. list until August 2001.

The prosecution asked Rigler if anything in the report linked the pair specifically to a civil aviation plot. Rigler said no, but the report's thrust was about their preparations for what turned out to be the 9/11 attacks, and their ability to elude federal agents.

'That's why they came here,' he said. 'They didn't come for Disney.'
Again, this was the part of the testimony that the Feds knew would be embarassing and was the purported reason for one of the Fed lawyers getting in the judge's face by coaching some witnesses. It's hard to nail Moussaoui without also bringing to light the missed opportunities that authorities had before the attack.

Shiite Officials Express Anger Over U.S. Clash With Militia - New York Times

Shiite Officials Express Anger Over U.S. Clash With Militia - New York Times

It just gets worse.


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