Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ney (R-Oh) Taking A Beating

in the David Safavian trial. His one time aid, Neil Volz, testifying for the prosecution has defined Ney (R-Oh) as a 'champion on Capitol Hill for Jack Abramoff'.

Volz said on the stand that he viewed Safavian and Ney, respectively, as federal agency and Capitol Hill 'champions' who helped Abramoff and his clients with inside information and assistance.

Prosecutors say Safavian, as General Services Administration chief of staff, was trying to help Abramoff obtain federal land known as White Oak in a Washington suburb for a school Abramoff had started. Safavian has denied any wrongdoing, and his attorney tried yesterday to show that Volz didn't have personal knowledge that Safavian received improper gifts on the Scotland trip, noting that her client had reimbursed Abramoff $3,100 for the trip.

Volz testified, however, that as far as he knew, the public officials on the trip did not pay for drinks, meals, golf at the storied Old Course at St. Andrews or a stop on the way home in London at a $500-a-night hotel.

And some additional Republicans ties to Abramoff have gotten more publicly exposed, Reps. Ney, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Don Young (R-AK), and Steven LaTourette (R-OH).


A Matter Of Trust

When our government is involved in complex and sensitive activities or investigations, we can not expect to know all the details. There are legitimate reasons to keep some information secret, or to release only select information when the work is done.

That is why institutions of the government need to be as transparent as possible, and must be seen as honest and beyond reproach. When information has to be hidden, there must be evidence that those making the decisions on what can be released and what can not are acting in a honest manner.

Unfortunately, a couple of on going investigations clearly show why many can no longer trust our current government to do be truthful.

Pat Tillman;s death is now getting it's forth review. The real story of his death is coming out, but only after a series of official lies were exposed. If he had not been famous prior to his entry into the armed forces, the facts surrounding his death, and the resulting coverups may never have been exposed.

The Abu Ghraib cases are still working their way through the courts. A series of trials of lower ranking enlisted scape goats are ending and they are being herded into prison. While there is clear evidence that there were higher ups, up to and including some in DC, who encouraged harsher treatment and demanded more information by any means, there is no movement to explore their actions. We are told that all the bad apples have been exposed and that no one with real authority was responsible.

Now we have the investigation of the incident at Haditha. The armed forces are also investigating this. They promise a full and complete look at the event, and that they will find the truth, and punish any that may deserve punishment.

The same way we were promised justice for those as Abu Ghraib, the same way we have been promised the truth about Pat Tillman.

Now we have to trust, that in a time when congress refuses to exercise any oversight, in a time when the president can be unchallenged when he issues signing statement redefining law, or claims unlimited powers, that somehow, despite the evidence of the past, the truth will come out.


Jefferson (D-La) Has To Go

Even if his acts surrounding the taking of the $100,000.00 was legal (and that is as great a fantasy as the Easter Bunny), his efforts to obstruct the investigation by hiding papers from the FBI clearly indicates his unacceptability to be a member of Congress.

Kick him out, now.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

While Talking About Bringing Troops Home

They are actually sending more in.

U.S. military commanders have moved about 1,500 combat troops from a reserve force in Kuwait into the volatile Anbar province in western Iraq to help local authorities establish order there.

The move, announced Tuesday by military commanders, comes as Iraqi officials continue to struggle to set up their government, amid new spikes in violence.

Granted, the talk is of force reductions within the theater of operations, and this is a redeployment of assets already in theater; It does show that all the happy talk of troop reduction and Iraqis taking the lead is still only talk and that reality is still very different.


Just Scratch The Surface,

and there you will clearly see the pervasive hatred toward the US.

Riots have broken out in the Afghan capital, Kabul, after at least seven people were killed in an accident involving a US military convoy. A BBC correspondent says gunfire can be heard from many parts of the city, including from near the US embassy.

Police said the convoy collided with a rush-hour traffic jam.

The incident sparked angry scenes in which crowds shouting anti-US slogans began throwing stones and burning cars, police said.

All it takes is a small spark, a little scratch, and the pent-up frustratian, anger, hatred, wells up and becomes evident, in a violent way.

And this country is considered a success when compared to Iraq.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Another Helicopter Down

It appears to be a mechanical failure, but two are missing in Anbar Provence.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopter crashed in an insurgent stronghold in western Iraq on Saturday, and two crew members were missing


Okie Dokie

You Have a Phlegmatic Temperament

Mild mannered and laid back, you take life at a slow pace.
You are very consistent - both in emotions and actions.
You tend to absorb set backs easily. You are cool and collected.

It is difficult to offend you. You can remain composed and unemotional.
You are a great friend and lover. You don't demand much of others.
While you are quiet, you have a subtle wit that your friends know well.

At your worst, you are lazy and unwilling to work at anything.
You often get stuck in a rut, without aspirations or dreams.
You can get too dependent on others, setting yourself up for abandonment.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Mass Murder In Haditha

At least it is sure looking like it.

Marines from Camp Pendleton wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians, including women and children, and then tried to cover up the slayings in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha, military investigations have found.

Officials who have seen the findings of the investigations said the filing of criminal charges, including some murder counts, was expected, which would make the Nov. 19 incident the most serious case of alleged U.S. war crimes in Iraq.


Looking for insurgents, the Marines entered several homes and began firing their weapons, according to the report.

In its initial statement to the media, the Marine Corps said the Iraqi civilians were killed either by an insurgent bomb or by crossfire between Marines and insurgents.

But after Time magazine obtained pictures showing dead women and children and quoted Iraqis who said the attack was unprovoked, the Marine Corps backtracked on its explanation and called for an investigation.

This isn't shocking or stunning, these type pf events happen in war. That is why it is so important to not go into a war without overwhelming and clear cause.

That way, when events of this nature occur (and they will), at least we know that the atrocity that occurred was an aberration in an overall effort to do good. It doesn't excuse the event, but with time, it softens the harm. When the war you are engaged in is an undefined misadventure started on rumors and lies, the event becomes what the whole war represents.

The US in Iraq will be remembered for Haditha and Abu Graib, the looting of Baghdad and the false reasoning for the war. The removal of Saddam was important, but it's value pales when it is weighed against all our 'missteps', and the likley end result, a disected or failed Iraq.


Some Post Of Interest

for your Friday's enjoyment.

In the Middle Earth Journal, a flash back to the voyages of the 70s.

It is time to thank a liberal over at Gene's Blog.

Not Very Bright is still looking at the flawed arguments for a marriage amendment.

First a brief spanking of Bush and Blair for their negativism, then a comparative look at defense spending at State Of The Day.


Noticing The Obvious, At Last

You just have to wonder why it took three years for these two clowns to notice that mistakes were made in Iraq.

Washington: More than three years after sending their troops to invade Iraq, President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair cannot escape questions about their decision to go to war even as they acknowledge far-reaching mistakes.
{bold mine}

Bush and Blair still refuse to even consider the prime mistake, attacking Iraq, and the use of false pretenses to justify that attack.

Hubris and ignorance, a combination found in both Bush and Blair that has led us into a vast swath of quicksand with no clear way out.

Juan Cole adds some notes on the pres conference.


Thursday, May 25, 2006


Enron's Lay and Skilling both found guilty.

Skilling was found guilty on 20 counts of conspiracy, fraud, false statements and insider trading. He was found not guilty on eight counts of insider trading.

Lay was found guilty on all six counts of conspiracy and fraud.

In a separate bench trial, Judge Sim Lake ruled Lay was guilty of four counts of fraud and false statements.

Both Lay and Skilling could face 20 to 30 years in prison, legal experts say.

The punishment, even 20 years in jail, is not enough for the crimes committed. Their actions did hundreds of billions of dollars of damage, all so they could get even richer.

White collar crime does pay, the conviction of these two will do little to even slow it down.


Amtrak DC to NYC Shutdown

It won't work if you don't fund it.


The Congress Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

We are into day three of a bi-partisan congressional hissy-fit.

The Republican speaker of the House and the House Democratic leader, in an exceptional display of unity, escalated a constitutional confrontation with the Bush administration Wednesday over the FBI's weekend seizure of files from a congressional office.

The Bush administration can spy on US citizens, can start wars on false pretenses, can expose covert CIA agents, can allow energy companies to write their own tax policy, can allow drug companies to write their own drug policy, can offer billions in no bid shady contracts, can even lie to congress, and they don't care.

Let them try to actually do their job, and investigate a corrupt congressman, then they do get all upset. While the search may have violated tradition it may (and should) be legal. This Republican led congress has proven that it is incapable of investigating anything (DeLay as example). Since it is failing to do it's job, someone else has to step up and try to start to remove the corrupt from office.

I suspect that for many, the outrage is fueled, not by principal, but concern that their office may be next.


Had enough yet, the Green Knight ask congress.


Human To Human To Human?

The cluster outbreak of bird flu in Indonesia has the World Health Organization worried.

Mr Cordingley said that the Sumatran cases presented a major puzzle, as they were the largest cluster of human cases to date.

"[This] is probably the most worrying incident so far since bird flu started nearly three years ago and we can't find any obvious source of infection. We can find no sign of infected chickens; no sign of the virus in the environment around where they live," he said.

All seven people who died were members of the same family. An eighth family member is also thought to have the disease.

While testing appears to indicate that the virus has not mutated, this case is a cause for concern. The is very good reason to suspect that the virus not only was transmitted from the initial sick family member to some in their family, but that one of those who got sick, then infected another, Human to Human to Human transmission.

For a virus that has been very reluctant to transmit human to human this series of events is unexpected and a warning. Even without mutation, there is a real potential for this to spread in a human population.

One other detail of note, the mortality of the virus is still very high, with seven of the eight infected members of this family dying. Lets hope that if it does appear in the US and it does mutate into a more easily transmitted virus, our government is able to respond effectively.

because, we will need them to.


The Indonesia cluster does seem to have the WHO very concerned, they are talking about raising the global alert level.

If the global alert status were increased, international stockpiles of antiviral drugs would probably be shipped to Indonesia and travel from the country would be monitored in an attempt to contain the outbreak.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Michael Hayden Is In

The Republicans keep marching in lock step, and Democrats offered little resistance. As a result, Hayden wins intelligence committee approval.

The panel voted 12 to 3 to recommend that Hayden, a four-star general with substantial experience in electronic surveillance, succeed Porter Goss, who leaves the CIA post on Friday after 18 stormy months.

Anyone involved in any type of warantless domestic spying has no place in government.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Even Republican Reverends Get To Lie

Anyone who has spent anytime listening to the Reverend Pat Robertson isn't surprised that he is an accomplished deceiver. It is suprising to see him be so stupid in his deception.

Pat Robertson's Age-Defying Shake

Did you know that Pat Robertson can leg-press 2000 pounds! How does he do it?

As has been pointed out in any number of other places, this is an amazing physical accomplishment. He has topped the previous best record for leg presses by an astounding 665 pounds.

a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst.

So many on the right side of the political debate are so use to lying, that even absurd lies no longer seem to bother them.


A Fathers Choice

In the Iraq we created.

THE death threat was delivered to Karazan's father early in the morning by a masked man wearing a police uniform. The scribbled note was brief. Karazan had to die because he was gay. In the new Baghdad, his sexuality warranted execution by the religious militias.

The father was told that if he did not hand his son over, other family members would be killed.

And, it is not just the gays who are targets.

What scares the city's residents is how the fanatics list of enemies is growing. It includes girls who refuse to cover their hair, boys who wear theirs too long, booksellers, liberal professors and prostitutes. Three shops known to sell alcohol were bombed yesterday in the Karrada shopping district.

The religious extremist, the very groups we have been denouncing, are the new power in this country. A war started with the lie that it was to stop terrorism, is creating a land where terrorist will get support.

And few in the US even notice, heck some even call it incremental progress.


Tim, At Cracked The Bell

Is back, with a new look, and a new business.


Monday, May 22, 2006

The Official Hurricane Predictions Is In

4 - 6 major storms.

The North Atlantic Ocean could see 10 hurricanes form this year and four to six of them become major storms, the National Hurricane Center announced Monday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advised coastal residents to "prepare, prepare, prepare" for a very active storm season.

NOAA predicts 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes. Four to six could reach Category 3 strength or higher.

And we get to watch the Bush administration and FEMA do their Keystone Kops impersonation each time.


I Saw The Da Vinci Code

My daughters church youth group wanted to go see it, so off we went.

Not bad, not great.

They did a good job of being faithful to the book, but the book was not all that. It was what I call a traveling book, great for reading in a plane or when waiting on a connection. It didn't require a great deal of thought, and was distracting enough to keep you from going mad while on the road.

The kids did enjoy the movie, and what is most reassuring.

They knew it was fiction, a fact that appears to have evaded many who are speaking against this film.


Just Throw Away The Key

Corrupt and stupid is a bad combination, and Rep. Jefferson (D. La.), appears to be a national leader in both categories.

Federal agents searched the Capitol Hill office of a Louisiana congressman under investigation on bribery charges Sunday, while newly released court papers said agents found $90,000 in cash last year in his Washington home.

In a 95-page affidavit used to obtain a warrant for the office search, investigators stated that an August 2005 search of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson's home turned up the cash sum in a freezer.

One thing to admire about the Republican corruption is, with a few exceptions like Duke Cunningham (R- Convicted), they seem to be far more subtle about being bought.


Saturday, May 20, 2006


Has A Government

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament on Saturday approved the line-up of a government of national unity proposed by Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki.

Maliki, a Shi'ite Islamist, read out his program to the 275-seat assembly after its approval of his cabinet. Parliament was later due to vote on the program.

The government is a broad coalition of majority Shi'ites, minority Sunni Arabs and Kurds with a clear majority in the legislature.

well, at least most of one. The two key defense post, interior minister and defense minister are still open.

Many hail this as yet another corner turned.

When this corner was turned, we also saw, 19 killed in a bomb blast in Baghdad, two British troops injured, and another handful of bodies found who had been executed.

And It Gets Decent Millage

Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!


Friday, May 19, 2006

For Your Friday's Pleasure

A few post worth your time.

Not Very Bright has started to follow the Marriage Amendment debate, and introduces us to the Family Friendly Libraries group.

We are reminded of the important milestones in life at The Great Elsewhere.

JABBS visits the alternate reality where the Bushies live.

What happened in Haditha, and how the right is responding is considered at the Whiskey Bar.


Oh Goddie, We Get To Be Like The French Now

We can establish a system for the approval of new words, we can create a whole bureaucracy to assure the purity of our english, we can demand that all communication is now in our government approved and anointed national language.

God, you would think that with all the problems we have, those fools in DC would have a lot more important work to do.


Well Duh, UN Wants Guantanamo Closed

The only people in the world who want that national disgrace open are Bush, and his last few allies.

The UN committee against torture has told America that it should close Guantanamo Bay and any secret prisons abroad because they violate international law.

The 10 independent experts, who examined America's record at home and abroad, also urged President George Bush's administration to "rescind any interrogation technique" that constituted torture or cruel treatment, citing use of dogs to terrify detainees.

It will be interesting to see if anyone has the courage to follow up on the finding that we have also broken international law.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Republicans, Incapable Of Telling The Truth

Lets looks at Brian Bilbray (R-We are not sure), who is trying to replace 'Duke' Cunningham (R-Convicted) in California's District 50.

Well it appears that Brian isn't real sure of where he lives.

"I live in Carlsbad, taking care of my mother," Bilbray said. He said he has lived in the Carlsbad house since March 2005.


Virginia property records show Bilbray claims a home in Alexandria, Va., as his primary residence


Bilbray and his wife, Karen, also claim the Imperial Beach home as their primary residence.

So, if he lives with his mommy, he lives in the district he is running for Congress.


If he lives in either of the two houses that he owns,that he claims are his primary residence, then he is trying to run for office where he has no ties.

Here is the best part:

Neighbors told 10News they rarely ever see Bilbray at the house, which is his mother's home.

"He comes here occasionally to see his mother like boys will do, but he doesn't live here," said neighbor Frank Knudsen.

"If he does live here, he must leave late at night and come back early in the morning," said neighbor Bill Rider.

Another man, who lives right next door, said he wondered when people would catch on that Bilbray does not live here.

Another lying Swell Old Boy in the GOP.


The War America Should Be Fighting

Goes on, We got distracted and bogged down elsewhere, so we handed much of it over to NATO. Well, it is now heating up, a lot.

At least 50 people were reported killed when militants in Afghanistan launched the most intense attack on government forces since the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

The raid on a town in the volatile Helmand province was accompanied by an upsurge in violence across the country which claimed at least another 20 lives.

Fighting raged for more than nine hours in Musa Qala, a former rebel stronghold in Helmand. A senior security official said that the bloodshed began yesterday afternoon when Taleban commanders contacted local police claiming that they had seized the town.

NATO has a very capable force, but this is the war we should be fighting, this is the nation we should be rebuilding. Instead, we ignore it, underfund it, and neglect it, assuring that, even if the effort there is a success, it will take much longer to get it done.

Bad decisions by this administration may haunt our nation for decades.


Bird Flu Kills Up To 6 Members Of One Family

The cluster of deaths within one family, has again raised the fear of human to human transmission.

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- The lack of any clear cause for bird flu in as many as seven members of an Indonesian family is unnerving authorities who are attempting to rule out the possibility that the virus was transmitted from person to person.

Without a definitive link between the infected people and any diseased animals, scientists are unable to rule out the possibility that the Indonesians transmitted the virus to each other

This is one of the key events that the WHO has been watching out for and feared. The investigation into the cause of the flu in this family will be very important.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Bloody Night In Penn.

During Pennsylvania's primary elections yesterday, a number of incumbents (at least 13) were voted out including the states top two Republicans.

In stunning upsets, the state Senate's two top-ranking Republicans were defeated last night in fierce primary challenges fueled by anger over last year's legislative pay raises.

There is no doubt that the midnight pay raise attempt was the major local catalyst that fueled these results, but the growing national anti-incumbent drum beat must also be considered a factor.

Across the nation, those in power are seen by many as the biggest problem. At the national level, that means the Republicans are very exposed. The House is controlled by Republicans, a machine built by Tom DeLay. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, led by Dr. Bill Frist, who is facing his own investigations. The Republicans also control the White House and the judiciary.

The President is incredibly unpopular, the congress is hated, and one party controls them all. If the Democrats could articulate any message that resonates with the voters, the next six months could be very fun to watch.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not Well Received

Bush's attempt to find a safe ground in the immigration debate appears to be failing. At this point, many on the left just don't trust him to do anything right, and those on the hard right appear to hate it. They are demanding mass deportations, and the fortress USA approach.

This issue is important, but this year it looks like it will just be a political football for the boys (and girls) in DC to play with. One day they might get serious and deal with what is driving the inflow of immigrants, until then we will waste billions of dollars, and do nothing to fix this.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Day In Iraq

and another helicopter shot down.

The helicopter was shot down near the town of Yusifiya, nine miles south of the capital. The area is a stronghold of the Sunni Arab insurgency against U.S.-forces and the Shiite-led government they back.

“Two soldiers died ... when their helicopter was shot down during fighting in Yusifiya,” a U.S. statement said, giving no further details.

Yusifiya is only 9 miles from Baghdad, a graphic example of how poorly the US has done in securing the nation. 9 miles from the political center of the country, 9 miles from the home of the Green Zone, and the center of the nations focus, we are engaged in combat that demands air support, and that air support is then attacked.

And, that isn't the only disturbing news today. The once peaceful (by Iraqi standards) south of the country is getting very dangerous.

the total of British casualties in Iraq over the past nine days to six soldiers killed and five wounded. The other attacks also occurred in southern Iraq, an area that has been far more peaceful than central and northern Iraq where U.S. forces are based.

And just to make clear that the path ahead may only get worse, the Iraqi police force that we created and we trained, are often the suspects in the crimes the US forces see.

The Americans' problems are compounded by the fact that the same Shiite-led Interior Ministry police forces they are training to protect Iraqis are widely suspected in the killings -- if not as the executioners, then as allies to the Shiite militias blamed for much of the bloodshed.

"No police allowed," a hand-painted banner declares in Adhamiyah, a middle-class quarter of homes and gardens behind high brick walls that is one of the largest Sunni districts in Baghdad. In clashes last month, Adhamiyah homeowners took up guns to fight off what they took to be Iraqi police, possibly backed by Shiite militias, trying to enter the barricaded neighborhood.

In one of the regular meetings that 10th Mountain Division troops have with local leaders in another embattled Sunni neighborhood, Amiriyah, a Sunni businessman told Capt. Ethan Allan: "No one detained by Iraqi police is ever brought back alive."

Playing referee is a civil war is not a task any army is well trained for.


A Long Term Problem

Can not be solved with a short term solution.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will order fewer than 10,000 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to support Border Patrol agents in stopping illegal immigration, a senior administration official said Monday.

This is not a solution, this is just political grandstanding in an effort to shore up support within his crumbling base.

As has been noted before, only by addressing the base cause of illegal immigration, can we hope to stem the tide.

As long as the US pays better, and companies are willing to hire them, illegals will come into the US.

Bush is in a difficult spot. His corporate supporters want the depressed wages and relaxed workplace restrictions that an illegal work force create. His social issues base don't want people who are not like them in their neighborhood (but they do love the economic benefits of the illegal work force). He has to find a way to look like he is doing something to keep them out (and making is social issues base happy), while making sure that his corporate supporters still have access to the cheap and scared workforce that they love to have in place.

So, we will spend BILLIONS, and build fences, and send in the guard, and talk a good game, while making sure that the real source of the problem is never addressed, and the situation is never really resolved. (But those corporations selected to assist in the effort will get very rich)

A typical Bush administration stunt.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

What A Great Wekend

Fantastic weather Saturday, OK Sunday, a chance to visit with old friends, and 40 top level rugby games in one place. It was a blast.

And rumor is, the games may come back next year.

I am one happy person right now.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Few Post Worth Reading

Click over and check them out.

Firestarter5 has a no so gentle reminder of how good we still have it.

The next political distraction coming from the Republicans is considered at The Middle Earth Journal

Sacraments Wholesale notes the current absurdity where the government lacks the necessary security clearance to investigate itself.

A look at Ann Coulter's latest barge of lies, with Badtux the Snarky Penguin


Republican Corruption Roundup, Friday Edition

House Appropriations Committee chairman, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Ca., no, not that Jerry Lewis), one time friend of Duke Cunningham (R-convicted) is now being investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

and Ernie Fletcher (R), Governor of Kentucky has been indicted for conspiracy, official misconduct and violating a prohibition against political discrimination. Others have also been Indicted in the case, but Gov. Fletcher has issued a blanked pardon in their cases.

Stay tuned, the day is young, who can say how many more Republicans may be exposed.

Click here to return to main page



I never thought we would ever see numbers this bad.

President Bush's job-approval rating has fallen to its lowest mark of his presidency, according to a new Harris Interactive poll. Of 1,003 U.S. adults surveyed in a telephone poll, 29% think Mr. Bush is doing an 'excellent or pretty good' job as president

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl

--AZ-01: Rick Renzi

--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth

--CA-04: John Doolittle

--CA-11: Richard Pombo

--CA-50: Brian Bilbray

--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave

--CO-05: Doug Lamborn

--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell

--CT-04: Christopher Shays

--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan

--FL-16: Joe Negron

--FL-22: Clay Shaw

--ID-01: Bill Sali

--IL-06: Peter Roskam

--IL-10: Mark Kirk

--IL-14: Dennis Hastert

--IN-02: Chris Chocola

--IN-08: John Hostettler

--IA-01: Mike Whalen

--KS-02: Jim Ryun

--KY-03: Anne Northup

--KY-04: Geoff Davis

--MD-Sen: Michael Steele

--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht

--MN-06: Michele Bachmann

--MO-Sen: Jim Talent

--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns

--NV-03: Jon Porter

--NH-02: Charlie Bass

--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson

--NM-01: Heather Wilson

--NY-03: Peter King

--NY-20: John Sweeney

--NY-26: Tom Reynolds

--NY-29: Randy Kuhl

--NC-08: Robin Hayes

--NC-11: Charles Taylor

--OH-01: Steve Chabot

--OH-02: Jean Schmidt

--OH-15: Deborah Pryce

--OH-18: Joy Padgett

--PA-04: Melissa Hart

--PA-07: Curt Weldon

--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick

--PA-10: Don Sherwood

--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee

--TN-Sen: Bob Corker

--VA-Sen: George Allen

--VA-10: Frank Wolf

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick

--WA-08: Dave Reichert


Thursday, May 11, 2006

Spying on EVERYONE

So, that is Bush's 'terrorist surveillance program'. He has ordered the tracking of every one of the phone calls that everyone in the nation makes.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth


The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans, most of whom aren't suspected of any crime.


For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made "across town or across the country" to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

That sure sounds like a domestic spying program;

unless Bush thinks of it this way;

Every American is a terrorist.

In defending the previously disclosed program, Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States."

As a result, domestic call records 'those of calls that originate and terminate within U.S. borders' were believed to be private.

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans.

And of course, as would be expected, Bush has been lying about this since his law breaking was first exposed.

He is the most corrupt, most dangerous President, this nation has even seen.

UPDATE, from Daily Kos

"Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates," Bush said. "We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans."

Um, Mr. President, you may want to check with your nominee, General Hayden:

I have met personally with prominent corporate executive officers. (One senior executive confided that the data management needs we outlined to him were larger than any he had previously seen). [...] And last week we cemented a deal with another corporate giant to jointly develop a system to mine data that helps us learn about our targets.

So, either the President is lying, or his nominee is a perjurer. Take your pick, Mr. President. We're waiting.

Even some of the rubber stamp Republicans in Congress seem very unhappy about this development.

touched off a bipartisan uproar against a politically weakened President Bush. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) vowed to haul telephone companies before his committee under oath to ferret out details the Bush administration refuses to supply, and more than 50 House Democrats signed a letter demanding a criminal investigation by a special counsel.


Even Some On The Right

Can now see some the dangers that the Bush administration represents.

the Bush administration has simply gotten that bad and that, according to some polls, we are almost at the point where most genuine conservatives realize it.

His base is eroding and leveing him. The independents and the left have no use for him. All he has left are the culture war conservatives, and the neo-con imperialist.

So that is who he will pander to this summer, we should see lots of talks about gays, tax cuts and the war on terror, that is all he has left.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1,100 Dead

Last month, in Baghdad alone, the civil war killed 1,100 Iraqis.

President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday that nearly 1,100 bodies were found in Baghdad last month, the victims of executions, and urged Iraq's feuding factions to unite against surging crime and terrorism.

Talabani said in a statement that the 1,091 bodies found in the Baghdad area in April were the tip of the iceberg.
(emphasis mine)

That is the key, the 1,091 are those found in just one city. There were others killed from Basra, to Kikirk.

What a wonderful think we have done to the people of Iraq, I pray they will one day forgive us.


If You Want To Block Something

Address the demand.

The reason the war on drugs is on going, and may be an eternal fight, is we do little to address the demand. As long as their is a population who will pay, and pay well, for the drugs, there will be another segment of the population who are willing to take the risk to make the profit in selling drugs.

The same applies to the current illegal immigration debate.

building a wall will not work, refusing drivers licenses, medical care, access to education or any of the direct attacks on those who are here will not work. Only by removing the economic incentive will you start to slow the flow of labor across the US borders.

And, it appears that our nation is starting to try to do this.

Federal authorities announced the arrests yesterday of four construction supervisors and 76 illegal immigrants at a Kentucky home-building company, continuing a promised government crackdown on employers that rely on illegal labor.

The arrests at Fischer Homes, a leading builder in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, followed the April 19 arrests of seven current and former managers and more than 1,100 workers for Ifco Systems North America Inc., a subsidiary of a Dutch manufacturer of plastic crates and wooden pallets.

Of course, you do have to ask, why now.

From 1999 to 2004, the number of criminal employer cases referred for prosecution by the federal government fell from 182 to four, and the amount of fines collected dropped from $3.7 million to $212,000, according to a congressional report.

during Bush's first term in office we stopped enforcement of the law. Only now, when the debate is hot, do we see new attempts to uphold current law. If we had been doing this for the last 4 years there can be little doubt that the current immigration debate would be vastly different.

If there were no companies willing to hire illegals, if there were no executives conspiring to find low wage workers from other nations, if there were no jobs to be had in the US, there would be no incentive for the vast majority to try to come to this country.

Don't attack those who are just following the American dream, they are just trying to improve their families lives. Go after those who are looking for the cheap labor that these workers represent.

I would be very interesting to see where the immigration issue stood after a few years of aggressive enforcement at the management level. By destroying the demand, we may also end the debate.


The Party For America's Super Rich (The GOP)

Have agreed to run up the national debt by another $70,000,000,000.00, and give the vast majority of that money to the very very very rich.

The top tenth of 1 percent, whose average income is $5.3 million, would save an average of $82,415. Those in the top group would see their tax bill cut 4.8 percent, while Americans at the center of the income distribution — the middle fifth of taxpayers, who will earn an average of $36,000 this year — could expect a 0.4 percent reduction in their tax bill, or about $20.

Those who make less than $75,000 — which includes about 75 percent of all taxpayers — would save, at most, $110 each. Those making more than $1 million would save, on average, almost $42,000.

And our children and our grand children and our great grand children get stuck with the bill.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Does Anyone Wonder Why

All the accounting 'errors' that keep occurring at the large companies, seem to benefit the executives and their stock options.


The Election Is Getting Closer

So, the talk of bringing troops home gets louder.

The Iraq deployment of the Army's 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in Germany 'will not begin its deployment for Iraq in early May, as scheduled,' Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman announced Monday.

The 3,500 troops, who are based in Schweinfurt, were supposed to begin the deployment this week, starting with moving the brigade's heavy equipment toward the Middle East by rail, Whitman said.

Instead, the unit's deployment is 'on hold,' Whitman told Pentagon reporters.

If this is not politically motivated, it is great news. But it's timing, like the weekly security alerts of 2004, makes it appear that politics is at least part of the equation.


Blogger Is Unhappy

And not really workable. Since you get what you pay for, and I pay nothing, I will have to live with it.

But, I don't expect to do much real posting till it is working again.


Monday, May 08, 2006

Ney (R-Oh), One Step Closer

to his perp-walk, a former aid has taken a plea.

A former top aide to Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney pleaded guilty on Monday and agreed to cooperate in the corruption and influence-peddling investigation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud and to violating the one-year ban on lobbying after leaving Ney's office in 2002 and joining Abramoff's lobbying firm.

"Guilty, your honor," Volz told U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle.

Maybe these guys can all share one very large cell.


Now, Thats Power

The London press is speculating that George Bush was one of those behind Tony Blair's ousting of Jack Straw as Foreign Secretary.

Two London papers have speculated this weekend that complaints by President George W. Bush forced a British minister from his post because of his opposition to the use of nuclear force against Iran.

The Independent suggests that a phone call from the U.S. president to British Prime Minister Tony Blair led to the removal of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw Friday.

The newspaper reports that friends of Straw believe Mr. Bush was extremely upset when Straw pronounced any use of nuclear weapons against Iran "nuts."

Both The Independent and the Guardian write that Straw's "fate was sealed" after a White House phone call to Blair.

I suspect that the 'fate was sealed' part is rather important. It would seem that another nation would not have the power to force the removal of a senior official, but if that same official's neck was already on the block and his removal would make others happy, then, off with his head.

It is clear that the UK media still dose not consider Tony Blair to be out from under the control of Bush, but lets face it, George's power is now so diminished that even some in the GOP are getting quite vocal in resisting his ideas.


Remember, We Put These People In Charge

A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side.

Her cries Ah, ah, ah can be heard above the 'Allahu akbar' (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.

Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left.

Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera.

The London Times has a report of the murder of Atwar Bahjat, at, it appears, the hands of a Iraqi Death Squad. Or, she could have been killed by insurgents trying to make it look like a government death squad.

In the end who did it matters little. Did she care if it was agents of the government, or those fighting the government? She suffered greatly, and is now dead.

There is a lesson that we have to remember from this. We are the nation responsible for creating the environment where this could happen, for that we bear some responsibility.

The fact that the current Iraqi government is running torture centers, using death squads and extrajudicial executions is not being disputed. So, Atwar Bahjat's murder is at least symbolic of one of the results of our decision to invade Iraq.

A murder that was created by our actions. A vivid example of what is happening every day, ten, twenty, or more times a day, to people we will never hear about.

All because a few men in DC wanted this war.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

In The Middle Of Iraq

The song remains the same.

A number of car bomb attacks have killed at least 14 people in Baghdad and Iraq's holy city of Karbala.


Baghdad police also said they had found the bullet-riddled bodies of 43 men killed in apparent sectarian attacks.

In addition, the Iraqis are still seeing the daily murders, kidnappings, and random unreported violence that is now considered normal.


And The South Of Iraq Is Considered Stable

Just another sign of just how bad things really are in Iraq.

Al-Basra, the home of the British forces in Iraq, is also considered one of the more stable and peaceful regions of the country. An area where local rule is advancing, and the hatred of the occupation forces is not as pronounced.

One little helicopter crash has vividly exposed this little lie.

Bloddy battles were fought on the streets of Basra last night after a British helicopter crashed in the city, reportedly killing four airmen and drawing an Iraqi crowd shouting 'Victory to the Mahdi army'.

At least three British army vehicles were set on fire as the crowd hurled petrol bombs at troops trying to reach the blazing wreckage. Iraqi police officials believed the aircraft had been brought down by a shoulder-fired missile. Four charred bodies were seen inside it, reports said.

In the ensuing fighting, unconfirmed reports suggested that four Iraqis - some of them bystanders and thought to include a child - had also been killed. Soldiers fired three live rounds as they moved to seal off the area. A curfew was imposed from 8pm local time in a bid to restore calm.

Outside of the Kurdish areas (where war with Turkey and Iran are the new topics), the loathing of the occupation forces is palatable. Even the calm and safe regions can explode with no notice. This adventure is a failure, and the only question left is how great a failure will it ultimately be.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Traveling Today

500 miles, and 14 hours away from about everything.

Visit some of the links on the right and check back later


Friday, May 05, 2006

A Few Good Reads For Your Friday

Jump over and check them out.

Seeding Spartanburg takes a look at how some of the right respond to sex education.

The rantings of Rabbi Aryeh Spero are the focus of Outside The Tent.

Oliver Willis makes a very good point about the Zarqawi blooper video being peddled by the US army.


Goss Is Out At The CIA

after an 18 month run.

I wonder if the his just more deck chair relocation by Bolten, or could it be, at least in part, inspired by the current prostitute for votes investigation triggered by the latest developments in the Duke Cunningham (R-Ca, convicted) affair.

No notice, no replacement, and no real reason for quiting, makes one suspect that something nasty has to be involved.


I am not the only one who thinks the hookers might be involved, over at Firedoglake, the 'Fornigate' angle is getting a lot of speculation. It is also noted at talking points memo. Think Progress details some of the links


As Colbert Would Say

He is rearranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg.

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair undertook the biggest overhaul of his Cabinet since he entered office in 1997 after the ruling Labour Party suffered defeats to the Conservative opposition in English local elections.

Blair's departure is will be the next major move, and it may not be far away.


3 More Killed

Another roadside bomb.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers in Iraq on Friday, the military said. The explosion hit their vehicle in a U.S. convoy at about 11:45 a.m. in Babil province south of Baghdad, the U.S. command said.

The bad decisions and outright lies of the neocon elite are now being paid by with the blood of everyday Americans. While those who promoted this war are left unharmed, richer, more powerful, and unrepentant.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

Just Another Day In Paradise

Two US troops have died, a suicide bomber attacked a Baghdad courthouse, killing at least 10, and fighting continues in Ramadi.

In addition, a senior Iraqi officer was killed in a drive by shooting, and more tortured bodies have been found around the capital.

Isn't US imposed democracy wonderful.


Moussaoui Gets Life

and one last chance on stage.

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- Zacarias Moussaoui will have just one more chance to taunt the United States, when a federal judge on Thursday formally sentences the al Qaeda terrorist to spend the rest of his natural life alone in a tiny prison cell.

I hope that I never have hear his name again.


It Is Amazing

What you can buy these days for a few hundred thousand dollars.

It appears that Jack Abramoff was able to buy daily access to the Bush administration.

Abramoff was a $100,000 fundraiser for Bush [in 2000] and lobbying records obtained by the AP show his lobbying team logged nearly 200 meetings with the administration during its first 10 months in office


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Suicide Bombers Return

Today one killed at least fifteen in Falluja. They went after a traditional target, a police recruiting line.

While this may get the most notice, it isn't the important news from Iraq. The important news is in the last couple of days over thirty tortured and executed Iraqis have been found in Baghdad.

Fourteen male bodies with bullet holes and showing signs of torture were found in Baghdad on Wednesday, police said.

The corpses, also blindfolded and bound, were found in the capitol's Shaab district. All the bodies were those of men between the ages of about 20 and 30, the police said.

A clear sign that the death squads are still operating. This indicates that the wider sectarian battle is still growing, and that aspects of the Iraq government are still involved in murder.


An excellent Reason To Never Vote For A Candidate

If they support the teaching of (not so) Intelligent Design.

It appears that Henry Jordan (Republican, running for Lt. Gov.) will not be getting my vote.


Aside from indicating a general lack of knowledge about science, his support of (not so) Intelligent Design indicates a mindset that is dangerous to the state and not fit for a position of leadership.

By denouncing established science and embracing (not so) Intelligent Design, Dr. Jordan has also shown that he is, at his core, a creationist. His refusal to accept evidence based on fact, and instead allow his feeling and opinions to override scientific truth, indicate a major personal deficiency.

It is a childlike denial.

My four year wants their world to be just so. They create a reality that fits their understanding and desires. A world where baby chicks talk, night trains are monsters, and ice cream treats are an excellent dinner. The four year old wants it to be this way, so for him, it is. His parents know that chicks don't talk, that trains are just trains, and that ice cream is a treat, not the core of a solid diet, and work to change his understanding of the world to accept this.

Henry Jordan, on this issue, is like a four year old. He wants it to be just so, so for him it is, and facts and evidence will not change this. Not only is Dr. Jordan advocating teaching (not so) Intelligent Design, he is actually denouncing science.

I mean you've got to be stupid to believe in evolution, I mean really

He has made up is mind, and no amount of facts and data will sway him otherwise. Is this the type of person we want making decisions about our government? A person so dogmatic, that they can ignore evidence, rule against science, and override the truth, because they don't like it. Does Dr. Jorden subscribe to the, God said it, I believe it, that settles it mantra? Can a person so entrenched into their own ideas be expected to look at data and make a decision based upon the facts of the case?

And Dr. Jordan, people don't believe in evolution, at least not any more that they believe in Germs, or Gravity, or any other scientific principal. Evolution is, like germs, gravity, and oxidation, a reality.

we believe in thing that require faith, or some form of emotional attachment. You don't need faith or emotional attachment to accept a scientific fact.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

And They Still Might Not Be All The Meetings

Bush's White House has been forced to release it's entry logs. This will clearly show how many times everyone's favorite corrupt lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, visited. This administration has long disavowed any ties with Jack, going as far to claim that Bush didn't even know him. This new information may result in a more factual description of the Bush Abramoff relationship.

Now that these records have been forced out into the public's view, the Bush White House is placing a very intriguing caveat on the information:

The Secret Service's records documenting convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's contacts with Bush administration officials may not reveal all such meetings, the White House said Tuesday.

That leads one to ask, what other information is the Bush administration hiding about the relationship between George and Jack.


This Is Going To Upset The Pro Big-Business Right

Bolivia has nationalized their natural gas production.

President Evo Morales signed on May 1, 2006, the Decree #28701, placing Bolivia's energy industry under state control. Even companies such as the Brazilian Petrobras, the Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF, France's Total, and even British Gas and British Petroleum were given a six-month deadline to renegotiate their contracts immediately.

It will be interesting to see if some of the rhetoric we are using against Chavez will now be shifted over to attack Morales.


Monday, May 01, 2006

Ages Ago

Back when I was in college, one year I supported myself by working the graveyard shift at a 24 hour gas station, quick mart.

I was a good job for a student. I worked alone and as a result didn't have many responsibilities. In the 8 hour shift I was expected to make sure the cooler was stocked, the floor got mopped, and I didn't get killed.

After about 1am on most nights there was almost no traffic ( one or two people tops ) and if gave me a lot of time to study for class.

One very unpleasant aspect of the job was everyone who worked for the company was required to take a lie detector test every 3 months. This company has their own little testing room set up in the main office.

When I quit this job at the end of the school year (for real daytime work over the summer), the manager of the company took me into his confidence.

The lie detector was a useless tool for them. They didn't expect to find out liars or thieves by looking at the test data. He said that everyone responded differently, and they didn't even look at the results. They used the lie detector simply to keep the employees in line, in the fear of having to face the machine.

This was 20+ years ago, but lie detector technology hasn't changed much.

That is why I am surprised that both the FBI and the CIA use it so frequently, and trust it so much.



The number of laws that 'W' has decided (as the decider) don't apply to him.