Friday, June 30, 2006

AL Finds Proof For The "I" Word

The Anonymous Liberal:
And the Hamdan opinion completely eviscerates the administration's only other argument in defense of the NSA surveillance program, i.e., that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) somehow authorized the circumvention of FISA. The Court notes that 'there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in . . . the UCMJ.' All you have to do is substitute 'FISA' for 'UCMJ' and you know exactly what the Court would say about that argument.

In other words, if there was ever any reasonable doubt as to whether the NSA program is illegal, the Hamdan opinion dispels it. The same is true with respect to the administration's use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' (emphasis mine)

It Just Gets Uglier

5 G.I.'s Face Inquiry on Killing of Iraqi Family - New York Times:
"BEIJI, Iraq (AP) -- Five U.S. Army soldiers are being investigated for allegedly raping a young woman, then killing her and three members of her family in Iraq, a U.S. military official said Friday."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Letter In Salt Lake Tribune Says It All

Salt Lake Tribune - Government is spying on us
Government is spying on us

Salt Lake Tribune
Let me see if I understand the current administration's thought process - not an easy task!
Invade a country to bring them a better way of life and in the process start a civil war.
Demand that other nations listen to our wisdom on how to run their countries, and then call in the National Guard to control the violence in New Orleans. FEMA is not sure what happened to billions of dollars that was set aside to help the people devastated by Katrina, but Bush will still insist global warming is a fairy tale.
We have the most corrupt, self-serving administration in our country's history, but look, we killed al-Zarqawi, so everything is great!
Americans have nothing to fear because our own government is spying on our e-mails and telephone calls. I know I sleep well at night knowing that our intelligence community has a record of the jokes and recipes I send to my friends and the calls I make to my family.
Elections are coming up and the incumbents are scrambling to make themselves look good. You can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear.
I pray that people will vote for the candidates that will put America back on solid ground.

Janet Jones
North Salt Lake
Thank you, Janet. I pray for the same. BTW, what's your recipe for chile?

Smear-Campaigner Is Child Molestor

My Way News - Texas Political Adviser Convicted of Abuse:
EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - A political consultant whose company was behind a television ad accusing the Clinton-Gore administration of giving away nuclear technology was convicted of child molestation charges.

A jury deliberated almost two days before convicting Carey Lee Cramer, 44, of aggravated sexual assault of a child, two counts of indecency with a child by contact and one count of indecency with a child by exposure. He was cleared of nine other charges Tuesday.
Is it just me or does BushCo go out of its way to hire/promote/favor sleaze-balls at an unprecedented rate? Just sayin'.

D&L's Paul Siegel Finds The Truth Behind The Story

Democrats & Liberals:: How Bush Fights the War on Terror:
"Bush has given up fighting the real war on terrorists. He is enlisting his entire administration and his friends in the media to bring down all those who oppose his policies - in order to reduce the Republican slide in the fall elections."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It Could Be A Lot Worse

China Weighs Fines for Reports on 'Sudden Events' - New York Times:
More than 100 million Chinese have access to the Internet, and hundreds of commercially driven newspapers, magazines and television stations provide a much wider selection of news and information than was available in the recent past. As a result, Chinese authorities have also sought fresh ways to curtail reporting on topics and events they consider harmful to social and political stability.

Editors and journalists say they receive constant bulletins from the Propaganda Department forbidding reporting on an ever-expanding list of taboo topics, including 'sudden events.' But a few leading newspapers and magazines occasionally defy such informal edicts. They may find it more costly to ignore the rules if they risked being assessed financial penalties.
Or better, if you're an ultra-con.

America Moves Left - Poll: Majority of Americans want withdrawal plan for Iraq:
By Susan Page, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans say Congress should pass a resolution that outlines a plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, according to a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Half of those surveyed would like all U.S. forces out within 12 months.

The poll finds support for the ideas behind Democratic proposals that were soundly defeated in the Senate last week. An uptick in optimism toward the war after the killing of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi earlier this month seems to have evaporated.


Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate defeated two Democratic proposals to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. A plan by Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin to pull out all U.S. combat troops over the next 13 months was rejected 86-13.
Looks like Feingold and Kerry have their fingers on the pulse of the people. November is looking better by the week. Keep it up, bloggers!

Senate Finds Another Way To Waste Time And Money

Flag-Burning Fight Heats Up, Leaders In Both Parties Voice Opposition To Constitutional Amendment - CBS News:
(AP) Senate leaders in both parties said Sunday there is no need for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning, which the Senate plans to debate this week.

Protecting the First Amendment's right to free speech takes precedent, agreed Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., each their party's second-ranking Senate leader. Both said they would oppose the flag-burning amendment.
Unfortunately, Frist and the wingnuts think it's a good idea, so it will tie up this do-nothing-worth-doing legislature for another week.

Send In The Expert

Rice in Pakistan on anti-Taliban mission:
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday on a mission to make Pakistan and Afghanistan stop their bickering and work better together to fight resurgent Taliban forces.

Rice's return to the region, just three months after accompanying President George W. Bush there, comes at a time when both the Afghan and Pakistani leaders are suffering from slumps in popularity and their credibility is being questioned abroad.
Because, you know, she's used to dealing with administrations that are suffering from slumps in popularity whose credibility is being questioned.

Specter Finally Gets The News

My Way News - Bush Ignores Laws He Inks, Vexing Congress:
"'It's a challenge to the plain language of the Constitution,' Specter said in an interview with The Associated Press. 'I'm interested to hear from the administration just what research they've done to lead them to the conclusion that they can cherry-pick.'"

Well, Senator, it's probably the same research they used to conclude it was okay to cherry-pick intelligence reports to support the invasion of Iraq. Didn't you get the memo?

SCOTUS: Let's See What Else We Can Screw Up

My Way News - High Court Mulls Greenhouse Gas Regulation:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court plunged on Monday into the acrimonious debate over global warming and whether the government should regulate 'greenhouse' gases, especially carbon dioxide from cars. The ruling could be one of the court's most important ever on the environment.

Spurred by states in a pollution battle with the Bush administration, the court said it would decide whether the Environmental Protection Agency is required under the federal clean air law to treat carbon dioxide from automobiles as a pollutant harmful to health.

The decision could determine how the nation addresses global warming.
Watch out, Big Oil! Here comes Big Coal. What does anybody want to bet the SCOTUS wingnuts find in favor of the energy producers at the cost of our children's health and the environment, even the world we know?

Somebody should tell those lawmakers in Florida that they need not worry about offshore drilling; those platforms will be more than fifty miles away in just a few decades thanks to global warming.

Florida Lawmakers: Not In Our Back Yard!

My Way News - Nelson Vows to Filibuster Drilling Bill:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says he would start a filibuster in the Senate to block a measure on offshore drilling if it passes the House, which is expected to vote on the bill this week.

The bill would end a 25-year ban on drilling off much of the U.S. coastline. It could bring rigs as close as 50 miles from Florida's beaches.

Rising fuel prices have increased support for drilling in environmentally sensitive areas. The bill last week cleared the House Resources Committee 29-9 with bipartisan support.

Nelson and all seven of Florida's House Democrats oppose the measure. They're joined by Florida's Republican Senator, Mel Martinez, and at least four of the state's 18 House Republicans.

A spokesman says Martinez may join Nelson in trying to talk the bill to death if it comes up in the Senate.
Amazing how some issues can spark a bipartisan response without even trying, isn't it? Too bad the penguins and polar bears don't have representation in Congress.

Elm Tree Commits Suicide In Protest Of Bush Environment Policies

My Way News - Tree Falls on White House Grounds:
WASHINGTON (AP) - A large elm tree fell on the White House grounds overnight, partially blocking a roadway after a weekend of heavy rains soaked the Mid-Atlantic region.

Secret Service spokesman Jonathan Cherry said early Monday that the tree did not damage the White House and no injuries were reported.

The elm tree landed near the president's front door and partially blocked a road leading to the White House on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building. It wasn't immediately clear how long the elm tree had stood outside the White House.
Bush later said he didn't hear a thing.

Oh, Well, Why Didn't You Say So!?

My Way News - Iranian Minister: WMD Outlawed in Islam:
"JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - An Iranian minister told Indonesia's vice president Tuesday that his country has no plans to develop nuclear weapons because Islamic law outlaws the development of weapons of mass destruction."

So, has anyone told Pakistan?

Blogosphere Defined

Democrats & Liberals:: Blogging for Access:
The blogosphere is filled with ordinary people, who are tired of being lectured to by the political elites, who do not seem to have a clue as to what they, the bloggers, want. These are citizens who are trying to express themselves, thereby sending a message to those in power. That's it.


Though we have had a democracy since 1796, the little guy never had much sway. Powerful people chose candidates in both parties for a long time. Then came the primaries, which were more democratic. However, in the last analysis, leaders of the parties had the major say in the choice of candidates. Now, people who have never had a voice, have a voice.
Paul Siegel hits it on the head. Go read the whole thing.

And Then Some!

Democrats & Liberals:: Wasting Taxpayers dollars (101): This waste must end

John Trevasani makes a passionate plea for sanity in Congress; something sorely lacking these days.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Meanwhile, In A Country Far, Far Away...

Afghan Leader Losing Support:
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 25 -- Many Afghans and some foreign supporters say they are losing faith in President Hamid Karzai's government, which is besieged by an escalating insurgency and endemic corruption and is unable to protect or administer large areas of the country.

As a sense of insecurity spreads, a rift is growing between the president and some of the foreign civilian and military establishments whose money and firepower have helped rebuild and defend the country for nearly five years. While the U.S. commitment to Karzai appears solid, several European governments are expressing serious concerns about his leadership.
This is the war that actually made sense; the one against the people who actually attacked us on 9/11. We're losing it, and that's the biggest shame of all.

Our Fault The Pigs Rule The Trough?

Call for Lobbying Changes Is A Fading Cry, Lawmakers Say:
Government watchdog groups had assumed that members of Congress would not risk the public's ire by opposing such basic changes. But they were wrong; voters rarely complained, lawmakers said.

'The reason why it didn't happen was that members didn't feel a sufficient amount of pressure to change the way they do business,' McCain said in reference to large-scale reform. 'There's a belief among my colleagues that our constituents are not concerned.'


Joan Claybrook, president of the liberal organization Public Citizen, said her group and others instigated thousands of e-mails to Congress and called it "totally ridiculous" that lawmakers place blame on her coalition for not producing more protests.

Nevertheless, the legislation remains in limbo and, so far at least, a shadow of its initial expectations. Several of the bill's earliest advocates, such as McCain and Obama, voted against it as a waste of congressional time. "We missed an opportunity," Obama said.
The bottom line is, the jerks in power feel they can get away with anything because they think we're not watching closely enough. Is this true? I suppose we will find out this November. I certainly hope it's not the case, but when democracy fails, who else but the citizens of that democracy are to blame?

BTW, if the left loses in November and beyond, my wife and I are packing up and moving to Canada (my mom was Canadian). In another few years, it should be warm enough that far north to be comfortable for both of us (she likes tropical, I like temperate).

E-mails Pin The Tails On The Jackasses

E-mails detail Abramoff requests, contacts - Yahoo! News:
WASHINGTON - Wanted: Face time with
President Bush or top adviser Karl Rove. Suggested donation: $100,000. The middleman: lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Blunt e-mails that connect money and access in Washington show that prominent Republican activist Grover Norquist facilitated some administration contacts for Abramoff's clients while the lobbyist simultaneously solicited those clients for large donations to Norquist's tax-exempt group.


Norquist and Abramoff were longtime associates who went back decades to their days in the Young Republicans movement. Norquist founded ATR to advocate lower taxes and less government. He built it into a major force in the Republican Party as the GOP seized control of Congress and the White House.

Abramoff became one of Washington's rainmaker lobbyists before allegations that he defrauded Indian tribes led to his downfall and a prison sentence. He is cooperating with prosecutors.

Kartch said at the time ATR dealt with Abramoff, it had no idea he was engaged in criminality.

The e-mails show Abramoff, on multiple occasions, asked clients for large donations to Norquist's group while Norquist invited them to ATR events that brought them face to face with top administration officials.
I love watching cronies tie themselves into knots trying to excuse their bosses of blatant wrongdoing or idiocy. Looks like we can look forward to lots of episodes of the Save The Bosses' Ass show in the coming months. It's real must-see TV.

Another Threat Takes A Step Closer

Human-to-Human Infection by Bird Flu Virus Is Confirmed - New York Times:
"ROME, June 23 — An Indonesian who died after catching the A(H5N1) bird flu virus from his 10-year-old son represents the first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the disease, a World Health Organization investigation of an unusual family cluster has concluded, the agency said Friday."

It's not the pandemic type, yet, but it's not going away either.

A Mighty Oak Grows

City by City, an Antipoverty Group Plants Seeds of Change - New York Times:
"What sets Acorn apart from most community groups, said Peter Dreier, an urban planning expert at Occidental College in Los Angeles, is its ability to combine local projects with coordinated national action on larger issues."

Wake Of The Flood

Flooding in Washington Closes Some Federal Offices - New York Times

It would be high irony if global warming (which adds moisture to the atmosphere which causes more precipitation) manages to take out Washington, D.C. before the bafoons in federal government figure out what's happening and actually try to do something about it. Even if they started tomorrow, it could already be too late to save the coastal areas and near-sealevel places of population. The tragedies themselves (floods, hurricanes, draughts, avalanches, etc.) are just that, tragic and devastating. It's the sense of irony, however, that has me seeing the various congress persons standing up to their ankles in water with not a clue as to why or what to do about it.


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