Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yes but I'm sure he knows more about the subject, than you, Melissa.

In an article about John Murtha wanting to start pulling troops out of Iraq, (something that 60% of the public wants) Ms. Hart throws in her own little jab:
U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, said she did not think Mr. Murtha's military service should add weight to his comments.

"He's a member of Congress just like everyone else," Ms. Hart said. "As far as I know, he's not been intimately involved in the strategy in Iraq and has any intimate knowledge about the training of the Iraqi security forces."
Man, I wish I was in Murtha's district.

Pennsylvanians deserve better

DNC: Rep. Hart Wrapped Up in Abramoff Pay-To-Play Scandal

11/18/2005 7:19:00 PM
To: State Desk, Political Reporter
Contact: Damien LaVera of the DNC, 202-863-8148


WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Associated Press reported yesterday on the startling number of Republicans in Congress, including Pennsylvania Rep. Melissa Hart, who are embroiled in one of the worst pay-to-play scandals to ever rock the nation's capital. A Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigating the dealings of scandal-plagued Republican super lobbyist Jack Abramoff has learned that Hart is among the more than 30 Congressional Republicans who signed letters on behalf of Abramoff clients just days after Abramoff gave them money or hosted fundraisers for them.

According to the Associated Press, "Rep. Melissa Hart, R-PA., along with more than two dozen other members of Congress, signed a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton on Feb 27, 2002, that helped lobbyist Jack Abramoff's clients. The lawmaker received about $2,000 from Abramoff, his lobbying partners and tribal clients between 2001 and 2004, including roughly $500 in the period around which the letter was sent. Rep. Hart also used Abramoff's restaurant, Signatures, for a fund-raiser or other event, records show." (Associated Press, 11/17/05)

Democratic National Committee Spokesman Damien LaVera today issued the following statement:

"It is deeply troubling that Rep. Hart has dragged Pennsylvania into the same culture of corruption that Congressional Republicans brought to Washington. By engaging in one of the worst pay-to-play scandals in decades, Rep. Hart turned her back on the values and priorities of the people of Pennsylvania.

"Pennsylvanians deserve better. That is why Democrats are committed to promoting honesty and ethics in government. The American people deserve a government as good as them, and Pennsylvanians deserve leaders who represent their values and interests in Washington. Since, Rep. Hart clearly is not interested in providing that leadership, Democrats will."

driving Honesty from the public square

I'll admit, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but I always thought someone who professes to be a "man of god" would refrain from deceiving his flock. Here's Falwell whining about Christmas, on Paula Zahn's show two nights ago:

FALWELL: Here are twelve[law suits] that have happened the last two weeks, and they've happened all over the country. In Westfield High School just outside Boston, two students were suspended for distributing candy canes with the story of Christmas attached. And one was an appointee to the military academy. One a National Honor Society member. They would have lost all their scholarships and their appointments. Liberty council brought suit there.

The judge in a 67-page decision ruled in every point in favor of the students. They were reinstated. They distributed the candy canes and they got their scholarships. But that's happening all over America. All we're saying is, and the court has said this -- by the way, at lc.org, anyone who wants to see the legal memo that supports this -- we've sent it to thousands of school districts, lc.org.

All you need do is study what the law says, and that is: as long as Santa Claus, the Christmas tree, secular symbols are honored, so may religious symbols, like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, et cetera, be so portrayed.

And those who are trying to drive God from the public square in this country, and most Americans know this is true. We're just not going to tolerate that. And the time has come, because the law's on our side, to stop the ACLU, and Americans united from doing that.

Bashing the ACLU for political gain, that doesn't seem very religious either, especially when they're one of the biggest defenders of religious freedom in the country. From their website:

ACLU's Defense of Religious Liberty (3/2/2005)

The right of each and every American to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Constitution's framers understood very well that religious liberty can flourish only if the government leaves religion alone.

The American Civil Liberties Union has a long history of working to ensure that religious liberty is protected. From the famous 1920 Scopes trial-in which the ACLU challenged a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of evolution in schools-to the current Ten Commandments case before the Supreme Court, the ACLU remains committed to keeping the government out of the religion business and protecting every American's right to believe as he or she wishes


Here's just a sampling of some religious cases they've defended:

September 20, 2005: ACLU of New Jersey joins lawsuit supporting second-grader's right to sing "Awesome God" at a talent show.

May 11, 2004: After ACLU of Michigan intervened on behalf of a Christian Valedictorian, a public high school agrees to stop censoring religious yearbook entries.

March 25, 2004: ACLU of Washington defends an Evangelical minister's right to preach on sidewalks.

October 28, 2002: ACLU of Pennsylvania files discrimination lawsuit over denial of zoning permit for African American Baptist church.

July 11, 2002: ACLU supports right of Iowa students to distribute Christian literature at school.


And this case sounds very similar to the one Falwell describes above, about the "candy canes:"

February 21, 2003: ACLU of Massachusetts defends students punished for distributing candy canes with religious messages.

And here's the icing on the fat turd's whining christmas cake:

April 17, 2002: In a victory for the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the ACLU of Virginia, a federal judge strikes down a provision of the Virginia Constitution that bans religious organizations from incorporating.

Another right wing HYPOCRITE........how surprising.

the recycler

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid(D-Nev.) noted that both Republicans and Democrats have called on Bush to "change course and release a strategy for success in Iraq with specific benchmarks by which the progress could be measured.

"Today, President Bush failed to meet this call,'' Reid said. "Instead,
he recycled his tired rhetoric of 'stay the course' and once again missed an opportunity to lay out a real strategy for success in Iraq that will bring our
troops safely home.

The American people "deserve more than just a Bush-Cheney public
relations campaign,'' Reid said.

As the president has before, he has refused to commit to timelines for troop withdrawals—noting that forces have been increased to over 160,000 in preparation for December's elections. "If our military leaders tell me we need more troops we will send them,'' Bush said.But in the long run, Bush maintained, American forces will be able to withdraw as Iraqi forces take control."Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead,'' Bush said. "A time of war is a time of sacrifice."

Sunday, November 27, 2005

but...but...rush says there's no such thing, it's just left wing conspiracy talk

World's seas rising twice as fast: study

AGENCIES , WASHINGTON AND PARIS
Saturday, Nov 26, 2005,Page 1


Sea levels around the world are rising twice as fast as they were 150 years ago because of human-induced global warming, US scientists say in a study released on Thursday.

Sea levels are now rising almost 2mm per year, compared to 1mm annually for the last several thousand years, a team of scientists at Rutgers University and other institutions said.

"The main thing that's changed since the 19th century and the beginning of modern observation has been the widespread increase in fossil-fuel use and more greenhouse gases," said Rutgers professor Kenneth Miller, who led the study. "Our record therefore provides a new and reliable baseline to use in addressing global warming."

The findings, based on drilling studies in New Jersey along the Atlantic Coast of the US, are published in the Nov. 25 issue of the weekly US journal Science.

The study claims that ocean levels 100 million years ago and earlier were 150m to 200m lower than previously thought. It also questions whether any of the Earth's warmer areas were ever fully ice-free.- link

this article gets right to the point


The hallmark of the Dick Cheney administration is its illegitimacy. Its essential method is bypassing established lines of authority; its goal is the concentration of unaccountable presidential power. When it matters, the regular operations of the CIA, Defense Department and State Department have been sidelined. - read it all

Thursday, November 24, 2005

happy Thanksgiving

Detail of painting "First Thanksgiving" by
Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)courtesy
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division,
Detroit Publishing Company Collection

O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!
~~William Shakespeare 1564-1616

things that make you go hmmmmnnnnn...

Up to $US194 billion ($263 billion) in Iraqi oil revenues are going to multinational oil companies under long-term contracts, and not to the Iraqi people, a social and environmental group said.

In a report, the group known as Platform said that oil multinationals would be paid between $US74 billion and $US194 billion with rates of return of between 42 per cent and 162 per cent under proposed production-sharing agreements, or PSAs.

"The form of contracts being promoted is the most expensive and undemocratic option available," Platform researcher Greg Muttitt said.

"Iraq's oil should be for the benefit of the Iraqi people not foreign oil companies."

Muttitt added: "Iraq's institutions are new and weak. Experience in other countries shows that oil companies generally get the upper hand in PSA negotiations with governments.
Once these contracts are signed, will our troops will start coming home?
(via)

See Mike's First Television Appearance in Almost a Year

Saw it on CSPAN2, Michael Moore speaks to progressive democrats in Michigan. He talks about the war, the American public, democrats and more. I swear for being a so-called loony leftist, he makes more sense than any democrat I've heard yet in a long time. See it here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

this shit's getting old

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe decision to charge Jose Padilla may not resolve the larger constitutional issues over ‘enemy combatants’
The Bush administration, determined not to yield any ground on the constitutional issues in the case of Jose Padilla , has indicated it may still hold the accused “enemy combatant” indefinitely—even if he is acquitted of the terrorist conspiracy charges he was indicted on this week.

The American public better wake the fuck up.

Hey, wait a minute

If Bush didn't do it:
US denies 'plot' to bomb Arabic news station
GERRI PEEV POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT

THE White House has dismissed as "outlandish" claims that Tony Blair talked George Bush out of bombing al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite television station.
Then why is this guy getting arrested?
LONDON - A civil servant has been charged under Britain’s Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking a government memo that a newspaper said Tuesday suggested that Prime Minister Tony Blair persuaded President Bush not to bomb the Arab satellite station Al-Jazeera.
Gee, I wonder who to believe?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

natural born leader

"Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today."
-John F. Kennedy (JFK)John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1917 - 1963

Let the word go forth
From this time and place
To friend and foe alike
That the torch has been passed
To a new generation of Americans.

Let every nation know
Whether it wishes us well or ill
That we shall pay any price - bear any burden
Meet any hardship - support any friend
Oppose any foe to assure the survival
And the success of liberty

Now the trumpet summons us again
Not as a call to bear arms
- though embattled we are
But a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle
A struggle against the common enemies of man Tyranny - Poverty - Disease - and War itself

In the long history of the world
Only a few generations have been granted
The role of defending freedom
In the hour of maximum danger
I do not shrink from this responsibility
I welcome it

The Energy - the Faith - the Devotion
Which we bring to this endeavor
Will light our country
And all who serve it
And the glow from that fire
Can truly light the world

And so my fellow Americans
Ask not what your country can do for you
Ask what you can do for your country
My fellow citizens of the world - ask not
What America can do for you - but what together
We can do for the freedom of man

With a good conscience our only sure reward
With history the final judge of our deeds
Let us go forth to lead the land we love - asking His blessing
And his help - but knowing that here on earth
God's work must truly be our own.

Inaugural Address - January 20, 1961

Iraq wants us out

Iraq factions back troop withdrawal, stay silent on timetable
Seeking to quell the insurgency and sectarian violence, leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish political factions ended three days of contentious talks Monday with a call for a pullout of foreign troops from the country but no agreement on a timetable.

[snip]

On Monday, Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr suggested U.S.-led forces should be able to leave Iraq by the end of next year, saying the U.N. Security Council's one-year extension of the mandate for the multinational force in Iraq, which occurred this month, could be the last.

"By the middle of next year we will be 75 percent done in building our forces and by the end of next year it will be fully ready," he told the Arab satellite station Al Jazeera.
At this point it looks like the only ones who want us to stay are republicans and centrist democrats.

this is going to get real ugly

GOP's best friend could be its nightmare
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff was not at the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing two weeks ago, but he was the central topic, as Congress continued to probe what some call one of this generation's most outrageous political scandals.

It was J. Steven Griles' turn to testify Nov. 2, but it could have been any number of people.

[snip]

The hearing was a sharp reminder that while White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby dominate the headlines, Abramoff remains — according to some observers — the Republican Party's most dangerous problem.

"I don't think we have had something of this scope, arrogance and sheer venality in our lifetimes," Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote recently. "It is building to an explosion, one that could create immense collateral damage within Congress and in coming elections."

Sunday, November 20, 2005

republicans fiddle while Rome burns

Before getting into the cruel details of the budget cuts passed in the dark of night by our House of Representatives, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture.

This country is in a financial crisis for three major reasons.

First, we rushed to war in Iraq, without allies, and are now largely footing the $7 billion-a-month bill on our own. The war has proven far more costly in terms of human life than the Bush administration ever anticipated, and the financial cost of our extended occupation, now estimated at $220 billion, is crushing our government beneath a mountain of debt. And there’s no end in sight.

Second, we have suffered several massive natural disasters. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought almost unprecedented devastation to the Gulf Coast, Florida is still reeling from Wilma and these are just the three largest of the many "acts of God" that our government must spend billions of dollars to address. The price-tag for Katrina alone is $62 billion and growing. This one catastrophe will cost more than all the proposed spending cuts combined.

Third, and unlike the hurricanes because they are completely within our control, are the tax cuts the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have recklessly implemented over the past five years.

In 2004, according to the Center on Budget and Policy priorities, these tax cuts, that indisputably provide far greater relief to the wealthy than the middle class, accounted for half the budget deficit or about $235 billion. Both the House and Senate budget reconciliation plans contain proposals to extend these cuts beyond the Bush presidency.

The irony of the cuts proposed by both the House and Senate is that they are touted as necessary for reducing our budget deficit. However, when you combine the proposed spending cuts with the proposed tax cut extensions, the deficit actually increases.

"It is hard to rally support for a spending cut labeled the ‘Deficit Reduction Act of 2005’ when it will be followed by a tax cut that, by the same logic, should be labeled the ‘Deficit Increase Act of 2005,’" said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the nonpartisan Concord Coalition.

This budget fight is not, as the politicians would have you believe, about reducing the deficit. It is, instead, about Republicans, in the face of a massive runup in government spending, trying to look like they have a shred of fiscal responsibility by kicking around the poor.
And just out of curiosity let's see how our local Congresswoman voted.

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 601

H R 4241 RECORDED VOTE 18-Nov-2005 1:41 AM
QUESTION: On Passage
BILL TITLE: Deficit Reduction Act

Hart - AYE

Well surprise, surprise, Melissa fell right in line with Republican leadership.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

wtf????

nice going morons....

The only thing the republican's little stunt accomplished last night was to allow one of the most well respected congressmen on military matters, and national security, tell the American people the truth.

Typical republican speaker, "Blah, blah, blah, stay the course, can't cut and run, trust Bush, blah, blah, blah." Don't they get it? The American public is tired of hearing that bullshit. I especially liked when Murtha read the letters from the soldiers and soldier's families, you can tell he's sincere and really wants to bring the troops home. He has more credibility than anyone from their side of the isle.

When the crazy lady from Ohio called him a coward, that pretty much exposed their whole agenda.

Who was it that said, something like, "if they're sinking throw them an anvil?" The Dems didn't even have to do that last night, they brought their own anvil and threw it at themselves.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chuck Hagel

If it wasn't for the fact that I know this guy got elected with his own voting machines, he'd be my hero right now:
Hagel blasted the Administration for going after Iraq war critics and turning the war into a political cause.

"The Iraq war should not be debated in the United States on a partisan political platform," the Nebraska senator remarked. "This debases our country, trivializes the seriousness of war and cheapens the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. War is not a Republican or Democrat issue. The casualties of war are from both parties. The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years. The Democrats have an obligation to challenge in a serious and responsible manner, offering solutions and alternatives to the Administration’s policies."

Monday, November 14, 2005

once a coward always a coward

Bush Escalates Bitter Iraq War Debate
AP
ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska - President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world. "They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now," Bush charged. Bush went on the attack after Democrats accused the president of manipulating and withholding some pre-war intelligence and misleading Americans about the rationale for war.
BAAAWAAAAAAA mommy they're saying bad things about me. Make them stop.

Your the G-D Commander-in-Chief, act like it.

what is it with republicans hating civil liberties?

From John Conyers blog:
Patriot Act Action Center

Renewal of the Patriot Act has begun its final legislative consideration in a conference committee between House and Senate conferees. Although we will find it very difficult to defeat this bill, I will do everything in my power to ensure that this legislation is balanced and limited. I will need your help and your voice to join me in opposition to this bill.

When Congress passed the Patriot Act immediately following 9/11, we warned that the definition of terrorism was so broad that it could sweep in benign groups who were simply using tools of civil disobedience to make a political point, or even unions engaged in picketing. The Republicans told us not to worry, that the Department could be trusted not to abuse their authority.

Recent reports indicate that we do, indeed, need to worry about the conduct of the Department of Justice under this Act. Recently, the ACLU discovered, through the Freedom of Information Act, that the FBI had designated a Michigan-based peace group and affirmative action advocacy organization had been labeled "terrorist organizations."

The Michigan disclosure comes on top of news this week that the Bush administration has been using "national security letters" to conduct surveillance on more than 30,000 Americans a year. These letters allow the FBI to access correspondence, email and financial records to investigate terrorists. While this information is not to be collected for reasons other than investigating terrorism, we have learned that the government has been acquiring vast amounts of information on ordinary citizens. Even more disconcerting is that the Bush administration has eliminated FBI guidelines that required this data to be destroyed if it the reason for its collection was no longer relevant to the investigation. Instead, this information is kept in perpetuity, stored in massive government databases, and shared freely with other government agencies.

There has clearly been widespread abuse using the Patriot Act and the rights and liberties of innocent Americans are what has been lost.Please use this site to learn more about the Act and use the Action Center to help us in Congress fight this bill.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

paper trial needed

Voters have pulled levers for last time
Sunday, November 13, 2005
By Jerome L. Sherman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Last week's election marked the end of a four-decade era of lever machine voting in Allegheny County.

Yet with a Jan. 1 deadline looming, no one knows what will replace those machines, some of which have been in use since the 1960s.

They face a premature retirement because of a federal law that came out of the contested 2000 presidential election in Florida. The Help America Vote Act requires local governments across the country to buy new equipment by the end of the year or forfeit millions of dollars in aid.

On Thursday, four companies will display the next generation of voting technology during an event at the Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh hotel. From 1 to 6 p.m., members of the public may try different machines and give their opinions to county officials.

At 5 p.m., County Council will hold a public hearing in the Gold Room of the county courthouse to discuss the issue.

The county will spend about $20 million next year to replace 2,800 lever machines; the federal government is likely to cover $12 million of the cost. New equipment needs to be in place by the May 17 primary. - Read it all
My first choice would be paper ballots, but I guess that's out of the question. I'll be down there pushing for optical scanners, at least they leave a paper trail.

habeas corpus

Help restore preserve habeas corpus.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Alito lies about his lies.

Another right wing hypocrite, what else would we expect?
Responding to nagging ethical questions, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito yesterday defended his decisions as a judge to hear two appeals that involved his investment firms, even though he had said he would avoid such cases.

Alito laid out his case in a two-page letter, saying that he had not violated ethical or legal obligations and adding that he had set the bar too high in a 1990 pledge to the Senate.

[snip]

In the letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Alito said, "To the best of my knowledge, I have not ruled in a case for which I had a legal or ethical obligation to recuse myself during my 15 years on the federal bench."

He acknowledged that he ruled in a 2002 case involving Vanguard, in whose mutual funds he has invested more than $400,000, and a 1997 case involving Smith Barney Inc., through which he also invests.

But he said he did not have to recuse himself because he had "no financial interest in the outcome" of either case.

As to his pledge as a nominee for the court to the Senate in a 1990 written questionnaire, Alito said the question asked for potential conflicts during his "initial service" as a judge.

"As my service continued, I realized I had been unduly restrictive on my 1990 questionnaire," Alito wrote.

[snip]

But one Democratic committee staffer called the letter "another in a series of evolving explanations," and said it failed to address many questions.

In the letter, for example, Alito does not repeat the excuse he has given many senators in recent meetings that a computer glitch failed to screen out Vanguard.

Alito has offered different reasons for why he ruled on the Vanguard case but stepped aside when the losing side challenged his participation.

Meanwhile, Alito's letter did not address a third case of potential conflict, reported yesterday by the Boston Globe, in which he participated in turning down an appeal to the full court in a case involving his sister's law firm.
Well this will probably do him in, it's not the lack of ethics or the lying, it's letting the public find out about it. That's the one thing Bush won't tolerate from his cronies.

Shareholder approved contracts

Saw this at kos.
Bill would let shareholders approve CEO pay
By Greg Farrell, USA TODAY

In response to public revulsion over the astronomical pay packages awarded to some CEOs, a House Democrat introduced legislation Thursday that would force companies to let their shareholders vote on executive compensation.

Citing statistics showing that CEO salaries rise dramatically even when a company performs poorly, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said more disclosure of executive compensation was necessary.

"This bill does not dictate pay levels for corporations," he said. "It sets rules for public corporations about how to go about things."

Frank's proposed legislation calls for large public corporations to include detailed summaries of CEO pay contracts in the annual proxy statements sent to shareholders. Shareholders would then have to approve those contracts.
That's a great idea. What's going on here? Today's democrats actually starting to think like democrats from a bygone era? Will wonders never cease?

never a dull moment

When the hell are we going tobe able to relax again? every day it's something else, illegal war, patriot act, torture, drilling in wildlife refuges, psycho judges, levels of corruption that would embarrass the mob, etc ., etc.... Now it's taking away our fundamental right to due process, and don't give me that shit that it's only for "suspected terrorists", not only do the accused have a right to their day in court, but whatever we let the state do to others they'll do to us. Geez...... and here I thought Lindsay Graham was one of the (semi) normal ones. (should have known better)
The Senate voted Thursday to bar suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from challenging their captivity in federal courts, a move that seeks to reverse a landmark Supreme Court decision and heightens the debate about what to do with prisoners captured in the war on terror.

By a 49-42 vote that broke largely along party lines, the Senate adopted an amendment proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on the defense authorization bill that would strip prisoners at Guantanamo of their right to file habeas corpus petitions in federal courts. Five Democrats voted with the majority, while four Republicans opposed the amendment. Seven Republicans and two Democrats didn't vote.
Go here, and complain.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

white devil

Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.


....hmmmnnn, well at least he didn't call for their assassination.

this story passed under the radar

Funny I didn't see anything about it on Faux News:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (CNN) -- Days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein agreed in principle to accept an offer of exile from the United Arab Emirates, but the deal fell through, a UAE government senior official told CNN.

The reported offer came before an emergency Arab League meeting in Egypt in discussions between UAE officials and a Hussein aide, said the senior official, who was then a member of the UAE delegation to the Arab League.

The Iraqi president issued conditions, and the proposal went nowhere, the UAE official said.

The Hussein aide, Abed Hmoud, is now in jail in Iraq.

The UAE official's account was repeated by another source who attended the Arab League summit and, separately, by a senior UAE government official.

At the time, President Bush was calling for regime change in Iraq.


No wonder Bush started bombing before the deadline he imposed, the inspections were working and now we find out about this...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

restoring some sanity?

Congress May Curb Some Patriot Act Powers

Congress is moving to curb some of the police powers it gave the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including imposing new restrictions on the
FBI's access to private phone and financial records.

[snip]

Last year, a federal judge in New York struck down the national security letter statute as unconstitutional because he said the law did not permit legal challenges to the letters or a gag rule on recipients of the letters. The administration has appealed.

Civil libertarians lauded the deal's preliminary terms, saying recent accounts of the FBI's aggressive use of national security letters have lent credibility to their call for caution.

"Without those checks and balances, there will be abuses," said former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., of Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.

It's the least they can do. Better than nothing.

the high cost of the low price

Everyone has seen Wal-Mart's lavish television commercials, but have you ever wondered why Wal-Mart spends so much money trying to convince you it cares about your family, your community, and even its own employees? What is it hiding?

WAL-MART: The High Cost of Low Price takes you behind the glitz and into the real lives of workers and their families, business owners and their communities, in an extraordinary journey that will challenge the way you think, feel... and shop.

There are screenings all over the country next week go here and find one near you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

We're almost in hell

This is frightening -read it all here.
It now appears that neither Congress nor the judiciary will defend the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. I add to this list of crimes against history, and against what the United States once stood for, the fact that Congress has also completely abdicated its Constitutional responsibility with regard to declaring war, as I discussed the other day.

I will repeat the central point about the Padilla case. If the Supreme Court hears the current appeal (which I am almost certain it will), and if the Supreme Court upholds the president's "right" to throw any American in jail for the rest of his life simply on the president's word, then liberty and freedom in this country are dead. The rest is simply a matter of time. The president will have the same fundamental power that any other absolute dictator has: the only questions will be whether he chooses to use it, and whether he chooses to use it against you.

But is the Padilla case a major story, one that most Americans know about? No. Do the Democrats or any Republicans talk about it and its significance regularly? No. Does anyone in the political or media establishment appear genuinely to give a damn that our country is on the verge of destruction? No.

So, fine. Carry on the debates about the misuse of intelligence before the war on Iraq. Jockey for political advantage. Have a grand time.

Every single element is almost in place to end individual liberty for all time in the United States. Very few people know it. Very few people discuss these issues regularly.

We're almost in hell -- and almost no one understands or talks about what is happening.

I take no consolation at all from the fact that every single American will know it soon enough. Then it will be far too late. I'm sure many people will be very, very sorry.

And it won't matter a damn.
We all need to take action, Contact Congress , join the ACLU and/or People for the American Way.

Do you want this to come true............. "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," Bush joked.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

why we don't need corporate cronies on the bench

From Thom Hartmann:

Jefferson and Madison proposed an 11th Amendment to the Constitution that would "ban monopolies in commerce," making it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, banning them from giving money to politicians or trying to influence elections in any way, restricting corporations to a single business purpose, limiting the lifetime of a corporation to something roughly similar to that of productive humans (20 to 40 years back then), and requiring that the first purpose for which all corporations were created be "to serve the public good."

The amendment didn't pass because many argued it was unnecessary: Virtually all states already had such laws on the books from the founding of this nation until the Age of the Robber Barons.

Wisconsin, for example, had a law that stated: "No corporation doing business in this state shall pay or contribute, or offer consent or agree to pay or contribute, directly or indirectly, any money, property, free service of its officers or employees or thing of value to any political party, organization, committee or individual for any political purpose whatsoever, or for the purpose of influencing legislation of any kind, or to promote or defeat the candidacy of any person for nomination, appointment or election to any political office." The penalty for any corporate official violating that law and getting cozy with politicians on behalf of a corporation was five years in prison and a substantial fine.

[snip]

Prior to 1886, the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment defined human rights, and individuals - representing themselves and their own opinions - were free to say and do what they wanted. Corporations, being artificial creations of the states, didn't have rights, but instead had privileges. The state in which a corporation was incorporated determined those privileges and how they could be used. And the same, of course, was true for other forms of "legally enacted game playing" such as unions, churches, unincorporated businesses, partnerships, and even governments, all of which have only privileges.

But with the stroke of his pen, Court Reporter Davis moved corporations out of that "privileges" category - leaving behind all the others (unions, governments, and small unincorporated businesses still don't have "rights") - and moved them into the "rights" category with humans, citing the 14th Amendment which was passed at the end of the Civil War to grant the human right of equal protection under the law to newly-freed slaves.

On December 3, 1888, President Grover Cleveland delivered his annual address to Congress. Apparently the President had taken notice of the Santa Clara County Supreme Court headnote, its politics, and its consequences, for he said in his speech to the nation, delivered before a joint session of Congress: "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters." - read it all
As Thom Hartman points out corporations were never supposed to get as large and powerful as they are today, they're becoming dangerous to democracy. We need Supreme Court justices that legislate with that in mind, not the opposite.

the corporate agenda

From Business Week
Why Big Business Likes Alito
The President's new Supreme Court nominee has been a staunch proponent of limits on legal liability, employee rights, and federal regulation

[snip]

But one group is breathing a big sigh of relief: Corporate America. Of the dozen or so names on Bush's rumored short list of high court candidates, Alito ranked near the top for the boardroom set.

In the 800-plus opinions he has penned during his 15 years as a federal judge, Alito consistently has come down on the side of limiting corporate liability, limiting employee rights, and limiting federal regulation. "He would be a liability restrainer," says Stan Anderson, legal-affairs lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
This is the real reason Bush nominated "ScAlito," he's just following the orders of his corporate overlords. The fact that he hates women and doesn't care if cops illegally strip search 10 year old girls in their own home, is a just a bonus for the far right.

save the vote

Why does the media continue to ignore voter fraud? Why are only a handful of Democrats raising their voices, if nothing is done before the 2006 elections we're screwed again. The non-partisan GAO finished their investigation and released a damning report, confirming many of the suspicions and allegations of John Conyers and citizens groups about electronic voting.

From page 2 of the Report: (via Bradblog)

Examples of Voting System Vulnerabilities and Problems

-Cast ballots. ballot definition files, and audit logs could be modified.

-Supervisor functions were protected with weak or easily guessed passwords.

-Systems had easily picked locks and power switches that were exposed and unprotected.

-Local jurisdictions misconfigured their electronic voting systems, leading to election day problems.

-Voting systems experienced operational failures during elections.

-Vendors installed uncertified electronic voting systems.

Time to send some more letters.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hell yea!

Right now on CNN

Does there need to be a debate on the reasons for going to war in Iraq?

Yes, we need answers 70% 9311 votes

No, let's move on 30% 3912 votes

Total: 13223 votes

national security ahead of politics.


Wow, are the heavens changing? Friday, Scooter get indicted (yea hoo), by the most dangerous looking prosecuter we've ever seen, and he's still hot on the trail of others in the administration. And today Give 'em hell Harry, kicks crybaby Frist's ass and forces the Senate to take action on the most pressing issue of the day, the lies that lead to the Iraq War. I'm all giddy, it's almost fightening.

(From Americablog)
U.S. Senators reached an agreement to monitor a congressional investigation into the Bush administration's use of intelligence about Iraq after Democrats forced an unusual closed session on the Senate floor to draw attention to the issue.
The closed session began about 2:15 p.m. today Washington time when Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid invoked a rule forcing the session, which required the chamber to be cleared of visitors and cameras to be turned off. It ended about 4:35 p.m. with Majority Leader Bill Frist announcing the creation of a six- member task force to monitor progress of the probe.

Reid said Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts promised more than a year ago to conduct an investigation into whether the Bush administration misused intelligence before the Iraq war.
Democrats: We put national security ahead of politics.