Friday, May 26, 2006

The Persian Complex - New York Times

The Persian Complex - New York Times:
"If the United States resorts to sanctions, or worse, to some military response, the outcome would be not only disastrous but, in the long run, transient. Just as the West did with Iran's railroad and oil industry, it can for a time deny Iran nuclear technology, but it cannot wipe out Iranians' haunting memories. And no doubt the Islamic regime will amply exploit these collective memories to advance its nuclear program even as it stifles voices of domestic dissent. Even more than before, Iranians will blame outside powers for their misfortunes and choose not to focus on their own troubled road to modernity."

I have to agree with this opinion. Whether anyone here wants to admit it or not, we (the U.S.) did things in the past that led us to the situation of the world today. Lately, we've been doing some really terrible things again, all in the name of "spreading democracy" when what we're really spreading is capitalist greed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Speaker's Decree vs. Democracy - New York Times

The Speaker's Decree vs. Democracy - New York Times:
'The job of speaker is not to expedite legislation that runs counter to the wishes of the majority of his majority.' Thus spoke Speaker Hastert in a little noticed moment of czarist excess three years ago that his office is now stressing as the immigration issue churns toward a two-house negotiation.

This odious doctrine would be a major hurdle to any immigration bill, but especially to one that actually threatens to attract a bipartisan majority.

Thus is Mr. Hastert giving 116 Republican lawmakers out of his total caucus of 231 members the power to bottle up a bill, even if most of the House's 435 members eventually support something like the Senate compromise. And this is not just talk. Mr. Hastert, whose minions easily hamstring the rules of open debate, has repeatedly used his ukase to snuff out bipartisanship, even on such crucial affairs of state as the Medicare drug program.
This is the guy the Feds say they are NOT investigating. Maybe they should be; for crimes against the Constitution of the People of the United States;. Or at least for being a jackass.

I didn't say I wouldn't do it so I might, uh, do it

Counsel Says He May Use Cheney in Libby Trial - New York Times:
On the issue of whether Mr. Cheney will testify, the brief said, 'Contrary to defendant's assertion, the government has not represented that it does not intend to call the vice president as a witness at trial.'

The prosecution brief, signed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel, added, 'To the best of government's counsel's recollection, the government has not commented on whether it intends to call the vice president as a witness.'
Whether Darth Cheney makes an entrance or not, he's still going to have to do some fancy dancing for the prosecutor if he doesn't want the truth to come out.
The government wants to use Mr. Cheney's notes as evidence, saying they show the state of mind in Mr. Cheney's office and the importance that aides like Mr. Libby attached to rebutting the article.

The prosecution has said that after Mr. Cheney expressed concern, Mr. Libby informed reporters that Mr. Cheney's office did not send Mr. Wilson and that he might have traveled on what was little more than a junket arranged by Ms. Wilson.

Later, the prosecution has said, Mr. Libby misled investigators about his actions, saying the reporters had told him about Ms. Wilson.
This should be interesting. I'm betting Darth tries to invoke executive privilege like he did with the meeting notes about the energy "summits." He can't invoke the fifth amendment without, well, incriminating himself.

When Is Good Enough Good Enough?

Levees Rebuilt Just in Time, but Doubts Remain - New York Times:
But even though all sides agree that the corps has largely achieved its goal, independent engineers say it is the goal that is the real problem. New Orleans is still very much at risk, they say, because the level of protection the corps has reached is still not as strong as the city needs.

Many experts view this hurricane season, which begins on June 1, with trepidation, and hope that the system is not put to a test like Hurricane Katrina before further improvements can be made.
I hope they hold for the sake of the people living there and all of us who need to feel that this government can do anything about anything right. Let's face it, though, this President and Congress don't want people to expect anything from their federal government other than tax cuts (if you're rich enough) and war (if you're not).
The degree of vulnerability was underscored on Monday, when an independent team of researchers led by engineering professors at the University of California, Berkeley, and supported by the National Science Foundation released a report that found the hurricane protection system riddled with errors in design, construction and maintenance — a pattern of inattention to safety that caused the system to crumble in a hurricane that should have, for the most part, caused little more than wind damage and a day or so of street flooding.

"The overall New Orleans flood protection system," Professor Seed said in a briefing last weekend, "must be considered suspect."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

FCC Chickens Out, Refuses To Perform Its Duty

FCC Won't Investigate NSA/Telco Links:
"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The Federal Communications Commission does not plan to investigate purported links between an American spy agency and several of the country's largest phone companies."

A Dem In Scandal?

FBI Overstep In Investigation Of Congressman?

Everything smells fishy about this one, from one end to the other. I know Dems aren't necessarily innocent when it comes to corruption, especially the insider elite that's been there for a long time. What's strange here is the controversy over investigative methods and Constitutional immunities. Whatever the details, if he's guilty, he's gotta' go.

Another Reason To Think Humans Are A Plague On The Planet

Humans May Have Limiting Effect on the Origin of (New) Species - New York Times:
"Humans can threaten species with extinction in many ways, including overfishing, pollution and deforestation. Now a pair of studies points to a new danger to the world's biodiversity: humans may be blocking new species from evolving."

Hold the Applause in Iraq - New York Times

Hold the Applause in Iraq - New York Times:
There's just one major problem with the national unity cabinet presented over the weekend by Iraq's new prime minister. On the most important national issue — reforming Iraq's corrupt, brutal and highly partisan security forces — no unity has yet been achieved.

To some Iraqi politicians, it appears, the prospect of civil war seems less terrifying than the prospect of compromise over who will control the vital security ministries: defense, interior and national security. Among them, these ministries control the Army, the police and the prisons.


Early American efforts to train a professional police force were understaffed and underfinanced by the Pentagon. Even as Iraq dissolved into chaos and insurgency, Washington continued to shortchange these efforts.
Of course, Haliburton and pals aren't getting short changed this way. That, apparently, is the American way. Disgusting, and very, very dangerous.

Uh...Hello, Stil Here. Remember Us?

Afghan Leader Orders Inquiry Into U.S. Bombing - New York Times

It would appear the war in Afghanistan (remember that one; the one against the actual terrorists who attacked us on 9/11?) is also getting uglier as time goes by. The Taliban are still active there, and our forces are still killing innocent civilians in attempts to get at the enemy. I know the Taliban use the civilians as shields, but does that mean we have a right to kill the innocents? I don't think so. They didn't choose to be there. Who would?!

Mine Where 5 Died Had History of Violations - New York Times

Mine Where 5 Died Had History of Violations - New York Times:
The Kentucky mine where five men were killed in an explosion on Saturday had been cited at least 41 times in the last five years for failing to clean up coal dust properly, which can lead to explosions, according to federal records.

State officials and mining experts said the reach of the blast, which was felt more than 5,000 feet from its estimated point of origin, seemed to indicate that coal dust was a major factor.


Federal regulators had cited Kentucky Darby LLC, the operator of the mine, three times this month, and at least 38 other times since 2001, for not cleaning up coal dust and other combustible materials, according to federal records. While federal investigators continued to study the cause of the explosion at the mine, relatives of the miners voiced frustration over a report that the miners' air packs had not worked.

Although federal mine safety officials insisted that the air packs had worked properly, relatives of one of the surviving miners said he had told them that he had had only five minutes' worth of clean air, rather than the hour's worth required by federal regulations.
Corporations keep getting away with crap like this over and over and over. When will the people insist on real reform (campaign finance, lobbying, accountability, enforcement of safety codes, etc.) instead of taking this shit?! Get outraged, people! Get outraged and vote for the people who really care about people instead of the one's who merely say they do (you know, the ones currently in power)!


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