Thursday, May 31, 2007

Gates Favors Residual U.S. Force in Iraq After Most Troops Exit

"Gates said such a force would be necessary to ease the security concerns of American allies near Iraq." News

Wow. The goalposts just keep moving backward. Get rid of WMD, then regime change, then elections, then democracy, then kill terrorists, then stability, now it's "ease concerns of allies?!" Please tell me you guys are finally beginning to think that the ever-shifting reasoning for extending this occupation to forever is beyond suspicious.

The cost is already at half a trillion. What will it be after 50 years? Is "easing the concerns of our allies" worth trillions of dollars? Can't we figure out a cheaper way to ease their concerns? How about we fly each of them to Las Vegas for a weekend. I think we might save some money.

Amputee soldiers return to active duty

"In an about-face by the Pentagon, the military is putting many more amputees back on active duty — even back into combat, in some cases."

Amputee soldiers return to active duty - Yahoo! News

Ya think they're having any recruitment problems?

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Google Maps "Street View" Feature Allows You to Peep in on...well, everyone

"The new Google Maps zoom feature zooms all the way into my living room window. See cat on cat perch.

I'm all for mapping, but this feature literally gives me the shakes. I feel like I need to close all my curtains now. I'm going to look into whether it's possible for a person to have pictures of their home removed from Google Maps. Meanwhile, I'm happy to show bb readers the photo in the interest of illustrating creepy privacy violations. Heck, the whole world can see him anyway."

Boing Boing: Google Maps is spying on my cat, says freaked out BB reader

Privacy concerns?

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William F. Buckley, Jr. is a Damn Hippie!

"The congressional initiative to take coal and transform it into a liquid that serves to replace various fuels is going to have a hard time. Coalescing as fighting camps are (l) a public that says we have to devise a means of producing energy without dependence on the Persian Gulf, and (2) a public that says that the coal-based alternative being offered neglects the superordinate demands of our country and of our planet."

"The planet is ours, but the planet, for all that it gives us so much abundance, is closing in on the question of energy, so that before long we will need the sun and the wind to keep us mobile."

William F. Buckley Jr. on Energy on National Review Online

For those of you who didn't catch my attempt at irony in the title, William F. Buckley is one of the leading conservative voices in America. He is writing about our country's dependence on foreign oil, the nasty effects of coal on our environment, and the positive alternative energies such as solar and wind. I post it in an attempt to quell conservative voices who seem to use namecalling (such as that in the title of the post) to shout down people who suggest alternative energies as solutions to environmental and energy concerns.

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Bush's detention facilities

“Last week, WND reported President Bush had signed May 9 a little-reported National Security and Homeland Security Directive (NSPD-51 and NSPD-20) that granted extraordinary powers to the president in the event of a declared national emergency, apparently without congressional approval or oversight. NSPD-51/HSPD-20, published on the White House website, rescinds Presidential Decision Directive 67 signed by Bill Clinton Oct. 21, 1998, and establishes a new White House office of the National Continuity Coordinator, a position now occupied by Frances Fragos Townsend, the assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Terrorism. The new directive concentrates an unprecedented amount of emergency authority in the office of the president, specifying that the president now has the authority to direct ‘National Essential Functions’ of all federal state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations in the event of a national emergency.”

WorldNetDaily: Bush's detention facilities

When you read this consider the fact that is one of the most conservative news and commentary websites on the net. The basic "unAmericanness" of Bush's continued efforts to consolidate power in the executive branch is beyond Democrat/Republican, it's just not what our country is about. I think conservatives are beginning to understand this.

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Bush's Failed Campaign To Rebrand America

“You’ve probably never heard of a State Department official named Price Floyd (I hadn’t until a few days ago), but his resignation-in-protest, late last March, is as damning a commentary on President George W. Bush’s foreign policies as any of the critiques from retired military officers. Floyd was director of media relations at Foggy Bottom, the most recent of several diplomatic posts that he’d held over the past 17 years, beginning in the administration of Bush’s father. He explained his reason for quitting in a little-read op-ed piece in the May 25 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (his former hometown newspaper): Basically, he was tired of trying to convince journalists, here and abroad, ‘that we should not be judged by our actions, only our words.’ Ever since Sept. 11, the State Department, he noted, has embarked on ‘an unprecedented effort’ to explain U.S. foreign policy to both American and foreign audiences. His office arranged more than 6,500 interviews, half with international media. On any given day, senior officials were doing four or five interviews. And yet, poll after poll revealed rising animosity toward America. But the problem wasn’t our words; as he put it, ‘What we don’t have here is a failure to communicate.’ Rather, it was our actions, ‘which speak the loudest of all.’”

Bush's failed campaign to rebrand America. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

"Actions speak louder than words", one of my favorite pieces of timeless wisdom.

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Guantanamo Saudi 'kills himself'

"A statement by the US Southern Command said the inmate was found unresponsive and not breathing by guards, and attempts to revive him failed.

Two Saudis and a Yemeni prisoner were found hanged in an apparent suicide at the camp in June last year.

There are about 380 prisoners at the camp, some held for five years."

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Guantanamo Saudi 'kills himself'

Young men are dying down there. We don't know if they are innocent or guilty of anything because we won't give them a fair trial. We do know that torture methods are used there. It seems those methods are contributing factors to these deaths. Why are these 380 men worth our country's worldwide reputation and credibility?

Bush sees South Korea model for Iraq

"President Bush envisions a long-term U.S. troop presence in Iraq
similar to the one in South Korea where American forces have helped
keep an uneasy peace for more than 50 years, the White House said
Wednesday." (emphasis mine)

Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press

If they had tried to sell us this up front, it never would have passed. Can anyone still argue that this isn't/wasn't always about oil?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

South Korea joins rush to build ever taller buildings

South Korea joins rush to build ever taller buildings - International Herald Tribune

There are 42 skyscrapers in the construction or
planning phase around the world that are over 1,000 feet tall. Only
five are in the United States.

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Cheney lawyer told Secret Service not to keep copies of visitor logs

"A lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney told the Secret Service in
September to eliminate data on who visited Cheney at his official
residence, a newly disclosed letter states.

The Sept. 13, 2006, letter from Cheney's lawyer says logs for
Cheney's residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory are subject
to the Presidential Records Act." > News > Nation -- Cheney lawyer told Secret Service not to keep copies of visitor logs

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Russia Says New ICBM Can Beat Any System

"Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg."

My Way News - Russia Says New ICBM Can Beat Any System

By spending $1 trillion on a war whose only purpose was to keep the oil flowing our way, instead of to China, we have driven up the price of Russia's number one export to levels where they are absolutely rolling in money. As a result, they can afford to make cool weapons systems like the one above.

So, to break this down...we are spending $1 trillion on bullets and conventional weapons which we are using up in Iraq. Other countries are using their defense budgets to build up weapons specifically to use against us.

Do you still feel safer supporting this war?

U.S. Raising Visa Fees 66%

"Among the many fees that will rise is the one for a legal immigrant to apply to become a United States citizen; it will increase 66 percent, to $675 from $405. An immigrant applying to become a legal permanent resident will pay $1,010, a 155 percent increase over the current $395 fee."

U.S. Raising Visa Fees 66% on Average, to Advocates’ Dismay - New York Times

Give us your tired, your huddled masses (as long as they're rich).

Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney

"Special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald has made it clearer than ever that he was hot on the trail of a coordinated campaign to out CIA agent Valerie Plame until that line of investigation was cut off by the repeated lies from Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby."

Dan Froomkin - Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney -

Fla. Man Invents Machine To Turn Water Into Fuel

"A Florida man may have accidentally invented a machine that could solve the gasoline and energy crisis plaguing the U.S., WPBF News 25 reported."

Fla. Man Invents Machine To Turn Water Into Fire - News Story - WPBF West Palm Beach

Maybe it would have been worth giving this idea (along with 455 other ones) $1 billion of the $456 we've spent in Iraq so far. Maybe that would have been a better idea than killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning world opinion against us.

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

"The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen." (emphasis mine)

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 02/22/2007 | U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty

Another inspiring metric of the great 6-year Republican experment.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak

Plame was ‘covert’ agent at time of name leak - Politics -

It's official. Republicans tried to suggest that outing her was no big deal because she was not an active agent...but she was. This administration tries to suggest they are tough on terrorists, yet they outed an undercover agent working SPECIFICALLY on anti-terror measures. It takes years and years to get an agent into the position Ms. Plame was in and to build the trust she did. They outed her for purely political reasons. They don't care about our national security, all they care about is retaining power.

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Ron Paul Gets 91% in Straw Poll; Not the Work of Spammers

"Popular online web site dedicated to election polls proves that the online support of Ron Paul (news, bio, voting record) is legitimate and not the work of spammers."

Yahoo! News

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Nearly 30 DOJ Officials Threatened To Quit After Ashcroft Hospital Visit

Bush’s Monica Problem: The Gonzales Mess - Newsweek

Maybe this country would be better off if all the lawyers in the DOJ came from Pat Robertson's Regent U. instead of Harvard and Yale? When it's not about justice anymore, but about partisan agendas, why would anyone want to join except those on board with the agenda?

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Bush: People agree with me

"Confronted with strong opposition to his Iraq policies, President Bush decides to interpret public opinion his own way. Actually, he says, people agree with him."

Bush: People agree with me :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Nation

The lies are right in front of you. You don't even have to dig for them anymore.

How to Become a GOP Delegate for Ron Paul

Soldiers No Longer Believe in Mission

"Staff Sergeant David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

"In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place," he said. "There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome."

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this past February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber's body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army."

With allies in enemy ranks, GIs in Iraq are no longer true believers - International Herald Tribune

For those that seem to think that "the terrorists" are some set number group of radical people who, once we kill them, will be gone forever, read this story closely. We are creating enemies. How do you "win" a war against enemies you are creating faster than you are killing them? They just want us out of their country, out of their business. Is that so hard to understand? Wouldn't you want occupiers out of your country?

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3rd CIA Officer Confirms Ron Paul On Roots of Terrorism

"For the third time this week, a retired CIA officer has told Antiwar Radio that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is the driving force in al Qaeda’s recruitment and motivation for attacking America on September 11th." Blog · 3rd CIA Officer Confirms Ron Paul On Roots of Terrorism

No one believes your, "they hate us for our freedoms" stuff anymore, Republicans. It's insulting to our intelligence, and it's further eroding your credibility...if that's even possible anymore.

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Fewer candidates apply for positions as U.S. attorneys

"The Bush administration's decision to fire nine U.S. attorneys last year has created a new problem for the White House: The controversy appears to be discouraging applications for some of the 22 prosecutor posts that President Bush needs to fill."

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 05/25/2007 | Fewer candidates apply for positions as U.S. attorneys

Bringing integrity back to the White House. Bush has put partisan politics over the law, over military integrity, and over the U.S.'s global reputation. The result is a weaker America with weaker systems protecting our safety and security.

Bush endorses CIA plans for regime change in Iran

"Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.

Under the plan, pressure will be brought to bear on the Iranian economy by manipulating the country's currency and international financial transactions."

Gulfnews: Bush endorses CIA plans for regime change in Iran

Hmmm, I just can't seem to figure out why they attacked us on 9/11. It's a real puzzler. Why, if another country's spy agency announced they were going to come into the U.S. to destabilize us, we'd welcome them with open arms. What's the big deal?

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Why the US is losing its war on cocaine

"America has spent billions battling the drug industry in Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. And the result? Production as high as ever, street prices at a low, and the governments of the region in open revolt. Hugh O'Shaughnessy reports from La Paz, Bolivia."

Why the US is losing its war on cocaine - Independent Online Edition > Americas

The War on Drugs has gone just as well as the War on Terrorism.

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Group: Terrorism not focus of Homeland Security (must-read)

"Claims of terrorism represented less than 0.01 percent of charges filed
in recent years in immigration courts by the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, according to a report issued Sunday by an
independent research group."

Group: Terrorism not focus of Homeland Security -

Once you give away your civil liberties because you are afraid, they will be used against you, and it will be very difficult to get them back.

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India, China look to bolster defence ties despite chill

"New Delhi and Beijing have decided to take their military ties to the next level by holding "periodic joint military training exercises"."

India, China look to bolster defence ties despite chill-India-The Times of India

So, our policy is to forcibly keep countries (Iraq & Iran) that may have nukes in 10 years or so away from them, all the while driving the countries that actually DO have them toward radicalism and to form military alliances with each other to counter-balance that very policy? Wait...what?

Pakistan losing territory to radicals

"Fazlullah signals a dangerous tipping point: He is the local leader of Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammad (TNSM, or The Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Laws), an armed militia that fought in Afghanistan alongside the Taliban. Police say he commands thousands of followers, is stockpiling weapons, and has growing links to Al Qaeda – all of which could turn the area into another terrorist haven."

Pakistan losing territory to radicals |

So, our policy is to forcibly keep countries (Iraq & Iran) that may have nukes in 10 years or so away from them, all the while driving the countries that actually DO have them toward radicalism and to form military alliances with each other to counter-balance that very policy? Wait...what?

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US economy overtaken by EU, Japan

"The Organization for Economic Development has said that economic growth in other rich countries has overtaken the United States this year. "

Press TV

That plan to cut taxes with no rollback in spending doesn't appear to be working very well. How many failed experiments with "supply-side economics" do you people need before you realize that Republicans just want lower taxes because they want lower taxes...that's it. It's not about boosting the economy. It's not about economic synergies. It's not about putting pressure on future generations to get rid of Social Security or Medicare. They had the past 6 years to cut spending and they didn't. They increased spending MORE then the Democrats had. They even increased spending on pork-barrel projects they had blamed on the Democrats for 20 years, such as the NEA, the EPA, and Education. Do you see now?

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Russia tests new rocket to beat missile defenses

"Russia successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday featuring multiple warheads designed to overcome missile defense systems, the defense Ministry said."

Russia tests new rocket to beat missile defenses | Reuters

Keep supporting policies that keep those gas and oil prices up, folks. You are, in essence, funding new military technologies in Russia and other countries which are growing increasingly hostile to the U.S. Meanwhile, we continue to spend our military budgets on bullets and bombs in Iraq, which is causing the hostility. Brilliant strategy!

Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion

"The federal government recorded a $1.3
trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion
deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA
TODAY analysis shows.

The loss reflects a continued deterioration in
the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for
civil servants and military personnel. The loss — equal to $11,434 per
household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.

"We're on an unsustainable path and doing a
great disservice to future generations," says Chris Chocola, a former
Republican member of Congress from Indiana and corporate chief
executive who is pushing for more accurate federal accounting."

Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion -

There are rules for us, then there are rules for the government. They fine and jail corporations for improper accounting, but have not been able to properly audit their books in decades.

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Republican Candidates Continue to Push Unproven Iraq-9/11 Tie

"In defending the Iraq war, leading Republican presidential contenders are increasingly echoing words and phrases used by President Bush in the run-up to the war that reinforce the misleading impression that Iraq was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

GOP rivals embrace unproven Iraq-9/11 tie - Boston Globe

US concerns as China builds nuclear subs / World - US concerns as China builds nuclear subs

Is spending $1 trillion of defense funds in Iraq making us safer? Are we taking our eyes off the ball from other goings on around the world?

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Intelligence agencies warned Bush about challenges of Iraq invasion

"U.S. intelligence agencies warned the Bush administration before the
invasion of Iraq that ousting Saddam Hussein would create a
"significant risk" of sectarian strife, encourage al-Qaida attacks and
open the way for Iranian interference."

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 05/25/2007 | Intelligence agencies warned Bush about challenges of Iraq invasion

McClatchy is one of the only news agencies that continued to question Bush's reasons for going to war all the way up to the March 2003 invasion. Bill Moyers did extensive interviews with the reporters there. Go to the Moyers website and watch the interviews. They are true investigative journalists.

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Creation Museum in Kentucky To Put Dinosaurs in Noah's Ark

Friday, May 25, 2007

Like Your Privacy? Use This Search Engine

"Hakia says a "cookie"-free diet will give it some heft in the Web search field. The little-known company is one of the few search engines that doesn't use user-tracking software known as cookies, and it hopes to make that fact a key part of its marketing. Use of cookies has sparked some fears by users and privacy advocates."

Search Firm Tosses The Cookies: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Hyping al-Qaida

"The topper, which he has recited several times before, is that if we fail in Iraq, the terrorists will follow us home. He uttered a few variations of the line this morning: "If we were to fail, they'd come and get us. … If we let up, we'll be attacked. … It's better to fight them there than here."

Clearly, this is nonsense, on three levels.

First, the vast majority of the insurgents have nothing to do with al-Qaida or its ideology. They're combatants in a sectarian conflict for power in Iraq, and they have neither the means nor the desire to threaten North America.

Second, to the extent that the true global terrorists could attack us at home, they could do so whether or not U.S. troops stay or win in Iraq. The one issue has nothing to do with the other.

Third, what kind of thing is this to say in front of the allies? If our main goal in bombing, strafing, and stomping through Iraq is to make sure we don't have to do so on our own territory, will any needy nation ever again seek our aid and cover? Or will they seek out a less blatantly selfish protector?"

Bush bungles a press conference. - By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

"The Ted"

North Korea test-fires missiles

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | North Korea test-fires missiles

Again, is Iraq where we want to be focusing our attention? Is it a proportional response to the threat compared with the other threats out there?

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Number of Republicans in U.S. Hits New Low

"The number of people identifying themselves as Republicans has fallen to a new low. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 15,000 adults in April found that just 31.0% now say they belong to the Grand Old Party. That’s down from 31.5% the month before and reflects a drop of more than six percentage points from the peak of 37.3% during Election 2004."

Rasmussen Reports™: The most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a mid-term election.

Rats abandoning a sinking ship. The neocons are ruining your party, Repubs. Kick them out.

More Bad Intelligence on Iran and Iraq

"This week the White House made a big show of declassifying intelligence alleging that in 2005 al-Qaeda considered using Iraq as a base to launch terrorist attacks on the United States. The White House didn't bother to mask the reason for the disclosure — to put pressure on the Democrats to stop trying to impose a date for a withdrawal from Iraq. Meanwhile, ABC News reported that the White House recently ordered the CIA to destabilize the Iranian regime.

Both cases show how the Administration is still trying to manipulate intelligence to further its strategic goals."

More Bad Intelligence on Iran and Iraq | TIME

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Chinese build five nuclear subs

"China has surprised the Pentagon with the pace of development of a new class of submarine that threatens the nuclear balance by providing Beijing with a more robust nuclear deterrent."

Chinese build five nuclear subs - Financial Times -

We are probably going to spend $1 trillion on military operations in Iraq before it's all over. I think that money could have been used for better purposes. I think we're taking our eyes off the ball by being so focused and financially invested in Iraq.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

U.S. may negotiate with Iraqi insurgents

"One element of the plan is to try to identify groups of people -- including possibly Sunni extremists and militia groups -- with whom U.S. officials feel they can do business, such as negotiating power-sharing and cease-fire agreements and granting economic aid, the sources said." - CNN Political Ticker

Can you imagine what the neocons and Fox News would have said had this idea come from a Democrat? In fact, I remember them accusing "evil" liberals of wanting to negotiate with terrorists. Pfft...Hypocrites.

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What Would $456 Billion Buy?

-- Wind Power: The local Cape Wind power project, at $700 million for 130 turbines, could be replicated 651 times, one reader wrote. "Take advantage of the tremendous wind resources off New England's coast: the Saudi Arabia of wind power," the reader claimed, adding that the energy produced would be enough to power New England.

-- Solar Energy: "How about investing $9.1 billion into developing a low cost way of manufacturing multi-junction solar cells?" asked one reader. "We would no longer need foreign oil."

'Boston Globe' Asks Readers How Iraq War Money Would be Spent Elsewhere

This is just so distrubing. Instead of fixing the problem with this money, we've made it worse. Worse for generations to come.

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Swiss authorities question U.S. counterfeiting charges against North Korea

Who is counterfeiting the U.S. Dollar?

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kuwait Drops U.S. Dollar Peg

"Kuwait unshackled its dinar from the tumbling U.S. dollar on Sunday and switched the exchange rate mechanism to a basket of currencies, throwing plans for currency union with other Gulf Arab oil producers into disarray."

UPDATE 4-Kuwait drops dollar peg in blow to Gulf currency union | News | Economic News | Reuters
Sensing a trend here, folks? What's going on here is a direct result of the last 6 years of Republican "fiscal conservatism." Because they have spent so much money, and shackled us with so large future payments with the war and the prescription drug plan, the U.S. Dollar is weakening. As a result, other countries are abandoning the Dollar for their daily use and as a peg to their own currency. Way to go "fiscal conservatives!"

Argentina & Brazil to Drop U.S. Dollar Peg

"Argentina and Brazil, South America's two largest economies, will drop the U.S. dollar in favor of a regional currency in their bilateral trade starting in October 2007, Argentine Economics Minister Felisa Miceli said."

RIA Novosti - World - Regional currency to replace dollar in Argentina-Brazil trade

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Iran most active in countering terror

"A recent statement issued by the UN Security Council (UNSC) says Iran is the most active country in countering terrorism."

Press TV

So, for those of you that don't see a problem with giving up your civil liberties to "counter terrorism," you guys must think we're on the right track. If we keep expanding the government's counter terrorism methods here in the U.S., our country can grow up to be just like Iran! Won't that be great?!

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Defense Secretary Bars Only News Outlet That Questioned Pre-War Intel

"Staffers at McClatchy's Washington, D.C., Bureau -- one of the few major news outlets skeptical of intelligence reports during the run-up to the war in Iraq -- claims it is now being punished for that coverage.

Bureau Chief John Walcott and current and former McClatchy Pentagon correspondents say they have not been allowed on the Defense Secretary's plane for at least three years, claiming the news company is being retaliated against for its reporting."

McClatchy's D.C. Bureau Claims It's Barred From Defense Secretary Plane


War Without Consequence? Absurd.

“By suggesting that Americans look at their own government’s actions, Rep. Paul took a shot at one of the nation’s biggest sacred cows: we can do whatever we want in the world without consequence. For decades that seemed to be true. But no longer. It is critical that we honestly and realistically assess the consequences of US foreign policy.”

War Without Consequence? Absurd. - Mises Institute

U.S. quietly, dramatically increasing Iraq troop levels

"The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday."

U.S. quietly, dramatically increasing Iraq troop levels

Straight Talk: Paul Has a Point

"...Paul suggested, the 15-year presence of the U.S. military forces in Muslim countries may have motivated them. For that, Giuliani excoriated him, calling it an ‘extraordinary statement,’ adding, ‘I don’t think I’ve heard that before.’ Let’s be blunt. Giuliani was either lying, or he hasn’t cracked a book in six years. The ‘blowback’ theory isn’t some fringe idea common only to crazy Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. It doesn’t suggest that we ‘deserved’ the Sept. 11 attacks, nor does it suggest we shouldn’t have retaliated against the people who waged them. What it does say is that actions have consequences." - Straight Talk: Paul Has a Point - Blog | Blogs | Popular Blogs | Video Blogs

I don't understand why Ron Paul's argument was so earth-shattering to Republicans. It seems so obvious to me. All you have to do is put yourself in another country's shoes. If another country was meddling in the U.S., how would we feel? What would our reactions be?

(side note: I do not like to link to Fox News. In general, I do not think it is news, but propaganda. I only do so to make my points harder to dismiss by the "left-leaning news" conspiracy theorists.)

What Kind of Democracy Is This?

"This is the kind of democracy it is: the kind that can have both parties calling for an increase in the size of the U.S. military at a moment when the people are sick and tired of war and groaning under the weight of confiscatory taxation. The kind that has all ‘major’ candidates for the White House vowing that nothing is ‘off the table’ when it comes to Iran — and pledging to prosecute the war in Iraq more efficiently and successfully than Bush. What the past four years have taught us is that we are the kind of ‘democracy’ in which the major parties are merely the ‘right’ and ‘left’ wings of a single party — the War Party."

'What Kind of Democracy Is This?'- by Justin Raimondo

Justin is an excellent writer. I read him as often as I can.

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Bush may turn to UN in search for Iraq solution

"The Bush administration is developing plans to "internationalise" the Iraq crisis, including an expanded role for the United Nations, as a way of reducing overall US responsibility for Iraq's future and limiting domestic political fallout from the war as the 2008 election season approaches."

Bush may turn to UN in search for Iraq solution | Iraq | Guardian Unlimited we're having difficulty in Iraq because we appear to the Iraqis as an occupying force. Therefore, it might be a good idea to get a TRUE coalition (maybe an existing one, such as the UN) to help. Hmmm...what an interesting idea...if only someone had thought of that 4 years ago...oh wait, EVERYONE thought of that 4 years ago!

A Second Surge? (a.k.a Vietnam-like escalation)

A Second Surge?, By Kevin Drum - CBS News

Bush Outsources the Task of Catching bin Laden

"NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports on how the Bush administration pays the Pakistani government $1 billion a year to hunt down Osama bin Laden, and demands zero accountability as to how that money is spent."

Crooks and Liars » Bush Outsources the Task of Catching bin Laden

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Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

"The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on"

The Blotter - ABC News

This didn't work last time. I get the impression he is attempting to goad them into attacking us in some way so he can justify bombing/invading.

Iraq Occupation's Effect on Iraqi Children

At a recent kindergarten graduation ceremony, young girls smiled behind their brightly colored princess dresses and the boys showed off their best dress shirts. They sipped on juice boxes, played on swings and jumped on and off seesaws.

It was a welcome relief from the war that surrounds them. But when these 5-year-olds spoke, it became apparent just how much the ongoing violence has affected them.

"I'm going to bomb, bomb, bomb the school with everybody in it," said Omar Hussein, as he clutched a pink toy airplane.

At another point, a girl enthusiastically sang, "I give a knife to my father to slaughter the chicken. He gives me a machine gun and a rifle. Now, I am a soldier in the liberation army."


The school's headmistress, Suhailah Ibrahim, says they try to reduce the stress level for the children as much as they can. When bombs go off or shots ring out, she says, "We usually tell them the explosions are far away from us."

Most of all, she says, they just want to "live like before."

"We want an end to the occupation," she says.

Iraqi kindergarten: Smiles and vows to fight -

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why Are Republicans Piling-On Ron Paul?

"If nothing else, Dr. Paul's candidacy serves to demonstrate that traditional views about restrained, peaceful foreign policy haven't been completely displaced in the Republican Party--only mostly so. That he's also an enthusiastic civil libertarian and believer in small government in the age of waterboarding, the PATRIOT Act and Medicare drug benefits makes him something of a ghost of the Republican Part past."

Disloyal Opposition: The Ron Paul pile-on

Bill Maher: Ron Paul...My New Hero

The Civil War in Four Minutes (video)

YouTube - The civil war in four minutes

Pretty cool what the kids can do on the computers and the internets these days...

100 Movies, 100 Quotes, 100 Numbers (video)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Some Republicans Wish to Exclude Ron Paul from Debates

"Some Republicans are angry at Ron Paul, the libertarian presidential candidate, for his forthright stance at the Republican debate earlier this week. When George W. Bush repeatedly asserts unpopular opinions in the face of withering criticism, it's seen as a sign of strength and resolve. But when Paul asserted unpopular opinions in a debate, his remarks became the grounds for derision and threats. Paul suggested that the United States' actions in the Middle East—and in Iraq in particular—might have motivated Bin Laden and the 9/11 attackers. Rudy Giuliani immediately jumped on Paul, demanding that he withdraw the comment. Now one GOP official is circulating a petition within the party to remove Paul from future debates. This is silly. Here's why:"

The GOP shouldn't silence Ron Paul. - By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine

Thank You, Ron Paul

"Paul thus becomes the first person in mainstream politics — he’s been in Congress many years — to acknowledge that U.S. foreign policy has had bad consequences not only for people in the Middle East but for Americans at home as well. A government cannot take sides in so many deep-seated conflicts for as long as the U.S. government has without acquiring enemies and provoking retaliation."

Thank You, Ron Paul - The Future of Freedom Foundation

Illinois Statehouse Renovation Perfect Example Government Carelessness with Taxpayer Money

"$28 million rehab of Illinois Statehouse includes $950 urinals, $405 doorknobs"

Are your tax dollars... going down the drain? :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics

When it's not your money, its value is lost.

U.S. Embassy in Iraq to be biggest ever

"The $592 million embassy occupies a chunk of prime real estate two-thirds the size of Washington's National Mall, with desk space for about 1,000 people behind high, blast-resistant walls. The compound is a symbol both of how much the United States has invested in Iraq and how the circumstances of its involvement are changing."

U.S. Embassy in Iraq to be biggest ever - Yahoo! News

It's just being completed now?! They are not planning on leaving in any significant way anytime soon. It would appear that they have never planned on leaving anytime soon, despite what we've been told. If we were really going to stand down as the Iraqis stood up, then why would we continue to build such a huge monument representing occupation?

Four Minutes from "Iraq for Sale" Documentary

YouTube - Iraq for Sale Banned Excerpts

This is Robert Greenwald's excellent documentary.
I highly recommend putting it on your Netflix.

SWAT Teams Being Used for Shoplifters?

"Georgette Prince was coming out of an Akron, Ohio, convenience store when a man pushed her back into the store, pointed a firearm at her and told her to get on the ground. When she did, he pulled her hands behind her and handcuffed her. Outside, another man pointed a gun at her 12-year-old son Davonte, ordered him out of the vehicle he was sitting in and forced him to the ground. The armed men weren't robbers. They were part of a Summit County sheriff's SWAT team that was raiding the store as part of a shoplifting investigation. SWAT team members and other members of the sheriff's office say their treatment of Prince and her son was "according to the book.""

Beacon Journal | 03/06/2007 | SWAT raid terrifies family

A tad excessive, don't you think?

Iraq Government Reinstates Saddam Policy

"Iraq is hemorrhaging doctors as violence racks the nation. To stem the flow, the Iraqi government has recently taken a cue from Saddam Hussein: Medical schools are once again forbidden to issue diplomas and transcripts to new graduates. Hussein built a fine medical system in part by withholding doctors' passports and diplomas. Although physicians can work in Iraq with a letter from a medical school verifying their graduation, they say they need certificates and transcripts to work abroad."
Iraq Reimposes Freeze on Medical Diplomas In Bid to Keep Doctors From Fleeing Abroad -

Why do the doctors want to leave? They must have run out of roses to throw at U.S. soldiers.

A Look Into Bushco's Willingness to Ignore Law in Order To Wiretap U.S. Citizens

"IT DOESN'T much matter whether President Bush was the one who phoned Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's hospital room before the Wednesday Night Ambush in 2004. It matters enormously, however, whether the president was willing to have his White House aides try to strong-arm the gravely ill attorney general into overruling the Justice Department's legal views. It matters enormously whether the president, once that mission failed, was willing nonetheless to proceed with a program whose legality had been called into question by the Justice Department."

Caller ID -

Al Qaeda Funds Coming From Iraq

"In one of the most troubling trends, U.S. officials said that Al Qaeda's command base in Pakistan is increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq, where the terrorist network's operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the anti-American insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity."

Influx of Al Qaeda, money into Pakistan is seen - Los Angeles Times

This war is not making us safer, it is making us less safe. What's worse, it is making us less safe for generations to come.

Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007

"Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism." - Walter Cronkite

Project Censored Media Democracy in Action

Friday, May 18, 2007

Moderate Drinking May Lower Kidney Cancer Risk

Moderate drinking may lower kidney cancer risk - Yahoo! News

Take that you Puritan, teetotaling bastards!

John Stewart Catches Alberto Gonzales Lying (video)

Big government: It isn’t just for liberals anymore

“President George W. Bush was the first Republican since Eisenhower to run for president without calling for cutting or abolishing a single government program. Since his election, Bush has presided over the largest expansion of government spending since Lyndon Johnson initiated the Great Society, says Michael D. Tanner, director of health and welfare studies at the Cato Institute. Indeed: Domestic spending has increased by 27 percent during his presidency.”


For those of you who vote Republican because you like "small government," please read the paragraph above again. You are being duped. I cannot say it enough times, Republicans spend MORE and expand bureaucracy MORE than Democrats. Republicans, at least in the last few decades, are not for small government by any definition of the term.

I Can't Believe I'm Typing This, but Pat Buchanan is Right!

"Ron Paul says Osama bin Laden is delighted we invaded Iraq. Does the man not have a point? The United States is now tied down in a bloody guerrilla war in the Middle East and increasingly hated in Arab and Islamic countries where we were once hugely admired as the first and greatest of the anti-colonial nations. Does anyone think that Osama is unhappy with what is happening to us in Iraq?"
But Who Was Right – Rudy or Ron? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Chart of Attacks in Iraq

The New York Times - Attacks in Iraq

Wow. Talk about pictures being worth a thousand words. It seems to sum up how Bushco has been wrong about every aspect of this war and occupation.

Free Mumia!

Dave Lindorff and Linn Washington, Jr: Mumia Case Reaches Its Climax

I didn't know much about Mumia other than the fact that he was on a lot of bumper stickers.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Angelina Jolie to Star in Atlas Shrugged (Rowrr!)

Angelina Jolie set to star in Atlas Shrugged

She is exactly how I pictured Dagny in my mind (except, maybe, for the freakishly erotic lips). I can't wait to see her in the movie!

One Republican's Journey to libertarianism

Liberty For All » Blog Archive » How I became a Libertarian

Your party has gone astray, my friends. The time has come to leave the Pachyderm Party.

General Accounting Office (GAO) says Homeland Security is breaking privacy laws

"The Associated Press disclosed late last year that the Automated Targeting System used by Customs had been developing risk assessments of millions of Americans over the last four years without their knowledge. The AP also reported that those assessments were to be kept for 40 years and could be shared with state, local and foreign governments."

GAO says Homeland Security is breaking privacy laws
How many more stories of do you need to read about the government using their new powers to breach privacy laws and general civil liberties before you say, "enough."? 10? 50? 100?

White House opposes military pay raise

"The White House has come out in opposition to a proposal by Congress to raise military pay by 3.5 percent, according to a report by Army Times."

The Raw Story | White House opposes military pay raise

Why is it that Republicans wound up with the general perception that they were the ones "supporting the troops?" They are not. They are clearly doing the exact opposite. Everything from the Walter Reed scandal, to this, to unnecessary, pre-emptive wars prove otherwise. I've got the tip my hat the the Republican's public relations prowess, but deception can only last so long, and the price the party will pay will be America's distrust for years and maybe decades.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Army Recruiters Telling People To Lie on Their Applications (video)

NewsChannel Nashville, Tennessee - NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Dishonorable Deceptions

Seems like desperation. They're having trouble recruiting good soldiers because it is a bad war begun under false pretenses.

All the lies being told by the purporters of this war remind me of the Sir Walter Scott quote,
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive

The lie to go to war has required a mountain of subsequent ones to justify and cover up the first...very sad.

Hong Kong Wants to Classify Bible as "Indecent" Due to Sex and Violence

Tinky Winky says bye-bye to Jerry Falwell

"The former TV star recalls the trauma of being called gay by the conservative preacher."

Tinky Winky says bye-bye to Jerry Falwell |

Expanding law to "attempted" copyright infringement

Reasoned Argument vs. Emotional Hysteria - Ron Paul vs. Giuliani (video)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Competitive Bidding Falls Off in Bush Years

Cool Timeline of Life on Earth

Expert Explains Why "They" Hate Us...(it's not who we are, it's what we do)

Is the Military Experimenting with Vaccines on GI's?

Fey was one of a group of Marines who lined up for an undisclosed shot." They asked us our name. We stood on these yellow footprints, and they gave us this shot, and we got the rest of the day off," he recalled. "After that shot, I started swelling up. I gained 30 pounds of water. My eyes swelled up where I couldn't see. I started snoring. I developed a rash on my hand."

Former Marine Claims Illness From Mystery Vaccine - -

John Stewart shows Bush's Flip Flopping on War Goals (video)

General Batiste Says Bush Has Not Listened to Military Experts (video)

Bush Loses U.K. as War Ally

"Mr Brown, who backed the 2003 Iraq invasion, said he had since learned that only so much could be achieved against terrorists and religious fanatics by brute military force, intelligence, security work and policing. In terms that will appeal to many Labour supporters but anger Mr Blair — and some in Washington — he said the fight to stop "extremist terrorist activities" would only be won after world leaders triumphed in a peaceful battle for "hearts and minds"."

News | Telegraph

Bill Moyers on The Cost of War (video)

Having Trouble Keeping Track of all the GOP Scandals? Use this handy guide...

What Would $456 Billion Buy? (slideshow)

"At the upper range of those estimates, the $456 billion cost of the war could have fed and educated the world's poor for five and a half years."

What does $456 billion buy? -

Friday, May 11, 2007

U.S. Paying $2000 to Families of "Accidentally" Killed Afghanis, Iraqis

"Until recently, the press has rarely covered the U.S. military program that occasionally offers “condolence” payments to Iraqis and Afghans whose loved ones have been killed or injured by our troops.
"Those 19 deaths in Afghanistan (and 50 wounded), by the way, were not the result of some unintentional air strike. Troops, angry about a bomb attack on them, carried out a rampage along a ten-mile stretch of highway, shooting villagers apparently at random."

Gen. Petraeus and the $2000 Payoff

Former Powell aide says Bush, Cheney guilty of 'high crimes'

"A former top State Department aide to Colin Powell said today that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are more deserving of impeachment than was Bill Clinton.

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, said on the public radio program On Point Thursday that "Bill Clinton's peccadilloes ... pale in significance" when compared to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of Bush and Cheney."

The Raw Story | Former Powell aide says Bush, Cheney guilty of 'high crimes'

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stephen Colbert Comments on Kansas' Need for National Guard (video)

Putin Compares U.S. to Third Reich

"President Putin lashed out at US unilateralism saying the US is driving the world in the same direction that Germany's Third Reich did."

Press TV

I miss the good 'ol days when we were the shining beacon for the world. To give guys like Putin any basis whatsoever for making these claims (which we have) makes me sick.

U.S.-led raid kills 40 civilians in Afghanistan: witnesses

"The deaths on Tuesday in the southern province of Helmand, if confirmed, would raise the civilian toll at the hands of foreign troops to 110 in the past two weeks."

U.S.-led raid kills 40 civilians in Afghanistan: witnesses - Yahoo! News

I don't think this is winning hearts and minds.

Ron Paul and the MSNBC Debate

"During the recent MSNBC Republican presidential debate, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul made three profound points on U.S. foreign policy that the American people would be wise to heed. Needless to say, Paul’s three points, being libertarian in nature, aren’t likely to be favorably received within the Washington, D.C., establishment, especially among lobbyists for the military-industrial complex. Perhaps that is why, despite Paul's first-place finish in post-debate polls conducted by MSNBC,, and C-SPAN — or maybe because of those results — the Washington Post used its lead editorial on Tuesday to specifically question Paul’s participation in the rest of the Republican presidential debates.

The first point was that the Iraq War violated the traditional American policy of foreign nonintervention that characterized our nation through most of the first 125 years of its existence. What Paul was referring to was summed up in the speech that John Quincy Adams delivered to Congress on the 50th anniversary of the Fourth of July: that America does not “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy,” and that, if America were ever to embrace such a policy, the “fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force” and she would become “the dictatress of the world.”

What better example of the validity of Adams’s admonition than President Bush’s war on Iraq?"

Ron Paul and the MSNBC Debate

Ad Campaign by Retired Vets

"The ad begins with a clip President George W. Bush saying "I have always said that I will listen to the requests of our commanders on the ground." Batiste then appears, saying, "Mr. President, you did not listen. You continue to pursue a failed strategy that is breaking our great Army and Marine Corps. I left the Army in protest in order to speak out. Mr. President, you have placed our nation in peril. Our only hope is that Congress will act now to protect our fighting men and women."

Political Punch - ABC News

Retired generals, Iraq veterans launch anti-war ads

"I am outraged, as are the majority of Americans. I'm a lifelong Republican, but it's past time for change," retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste told reporters.

"Our strategy in Iraq today is more of the same, a slow grind to nowhere which totally ignores the reality of Iraq and the lessons of history," Batiste said. "Our president ignores sound military advice and surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates."

Retired generals, Iraq veterans launch anti-war ads -

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Bush OKs 'integration' with European Union

"The Transatlantic Economic Council was tasked with creating regulatory convergence between the U.S. and the EU on some 40 different public policy areas, including intellectual property rights, developing security standards for international trade, getting U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) recognized in Europe, developing innovation and technology in health industries, implementing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, developing a science-based plan on bio-based products and establishing a "regular dialogue" to address obstacles to investment."

WorldNetDaily: Bush OKs 'integration' with European Union

Wait a minute...I though Bush and his supporters hated international regulatory and judicial bodies?

Iraqi Parliament Votes for U.S. Withdrawal Timetable

"On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition."

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Senate Votes Against Imported Drugs Plan

"The Senate defeats an effort that would have allowed Americans to purchase prescription drugs from abroad."

HeraldNet: Imported drugs plan fails

America: bastion of free markets, right? Congress appears to be completely owned by the pharmaceutical industry (among others). Allow me to explain something...legislation that helps corporations is not capitalism, it is cronyism. Legislation that reduces barriers to free-markets is capitalism. Corporations hate free competition, i.e. capitalism. They use lobbying of congress for the very opposite of a free-market. The want special privilages and barriers put up to keep competiton out. Please keep these distictions in mind when reading stories like this.

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Jesse Jackson on Iraq War

"War costs. It squanders billions on destruction that might be devoted to construction. Best estimates are the Iraq war -- which has already consumed about $425 billion -- will end costing about $2 trillion when the cost of veterans health care, disability payments, replacing the weapons and rebuilding the military is counted. That's $2 trillion -- largely debt left to our children to pay -- that will not be available to move this nation to energy independence, rebuild our cities, ensure that every child has a healthy start, make our schools the best in the world, keep college affordable, or renovate our collapsing infrastructure in everything from sewers to communications to subways."

Lives and resources lost in Iraq war are gone for good :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Jesse Jackson

Kansas Governor: Iraq War Slowed Response to Tornado

"The governor said about half the state's National Guard trucks are in Iraq, equipment that would be helpful in removing debris. Sebelius, who asked the Pentagon in December to replenish lost resources, said the state also is missing a number of well-trained personnel." - Kansas Governor: Iraq War Slowed Response to Tornado - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

Add these kinds of costs (including Katrina) to the ever-growing costs of Bush's War.

Report: Iraq child mortality rate soars

"One in eight Iraqi children died of disease or violence before reaching their fifth birthday in 2005, according to the report by Save the Children, which said Iraq ranked last because it had made the least progress toward improving child survival rates."

Report: Iraq child mortality rate soars -

Monday, May 7, 2007

Republican congressional leader acknowledges party nervousness about US troop increase in Iraq

“The House Republican leader said Sunday that his party’s support could waver if President George W. Bush’s Iraq war policy does not succeed in three or four months."

Republican congressional leader acknowledges party nervousness about US troop increase in Iraq - International Herald Tribune

"Three or four months"?! Isn't that a timeline? The terrorists are circling their calendars!

Iraqis jail many innocents, U.S. says

"U.S. officers here say they are increasingly troubled by the high number of innocent Iraqis being detained and held — in some cases for many months — by the Iraqi army Several officers who serve as advisers to the Iraqis said at least half the people detained by the Iraqi army in Baghdad are innocent."

Iraqis jail many innocents, U.S. says -

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The AWOL President

"The problem with Bush's "I'm-so-above-politics" line is that he has been disregarding advice from military commanders since before the war began."

The AWOL President, The Nation: Bush Claims He's Above Politics, But He Actually Thinks He's Above His Generals' Advice - CBS News

Bush's claim that the Democrats put through the war spending bill for political reasons is so laughable, I can't believe he said it with a straight face. What was his landing on the aircraft carrier in a jumpsuit? An important mission?

Beleaguered Iraqis now fear their own security forces more than the insurgents

"Be careful," warned a senior Iraqi government official living in the Green Zone in Baghdad, "be very careful and above all do not trust the police or the army."

Beleaguered Iraqis now fear their own security forces more than the insurgents - Independent Online Edition Middle East

Friday, May 4, 2007

Ron Paul's (R) MySpace Page

Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record
  • He has never voted to raise taxes.
  • He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
  • He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
  • He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
  • He has never taken a government-paid junket.
  • He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

  • He voted against the Patriot Act.
  • He voted against regulating the Internet.
  • He voted against the Iraq war.

  • He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
  • He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ron Paul - The Only Repub. Candidate to Vote Against the War (video)

Bill Moyers - Buying the War (video)

Bill Moyers Journal . Buying the War . Additional Interviews | PBS

This is excellent! It is a must see. About how the media failed to do adequate research into the White House's allegations in the run up to the Iraq War.

British General Says Iraq War is Hopeless

"Insurgents in Iraq are right to try to force US troops out of the country, a former British army commander has said.

Gen Sir Michael Rose also told the BBC's Newsnight programme that the US and the UK must "admit defeat" and stop fighting "a hopeless war" in Iraq."

BBC NEWS | UK | Insurgents 'right to take on US'

Spying on Americans

“For more than five years, President Bush authorized government spying on phone calls and e-mail to and from the United States without warrants. He rejected offers from Congress to update the electronic eavesdropping law, and stonewalled every attempt to investigate his spying program. Suddenly, Mr. Bush is in a hurry. He has submitted a bill that would enact enormous, and enormously dangerous, changes to the 1978 law on eavesdropping. It would undermine the fundamental constitutional principle — over which there can be no negotiation or compromise — that the government must seek an individual warrant before spying on an American or someone living here legally.”

Spying on Americans - New York Times

If Americans Were More Like Israelis...

“If Americans were more like Israelis, Bush’s popularity at the polls would be at … 0 percent. That’s where Ehud Olmert’s approval rate is among Israelis, according to CNN. Olmert’s position at the polls had hovered between 2 and 3 percent, before bottoming out. The anger is over the Second Lebanon War last year. Israelis are furious not only over the execution of the war, but over the fact that it had been prosecuted at all. Whereas large segments of the fantasy-based community in the US see great benefits to the destabilization of Iraq, or at least so they say — Israelis in overwhelming numbers believe leveling Lebanon was a horrible thing to do. Oddly enough, here at home, harpies for Bush continue to talk up the Second Lebanon War, even though Israelis have long since disowned it and the president who prosecuted it.”

If Americans Were More Like Israelis...

The right's explicit and candid rejection of "the rule of law" (scroll down)

“[R]eading Mansfield has real value for understanding the dominant right-wing movement in this country. Because he is an academic, and a quite intelligent one, he makes intellectually honest arguments, by which I mean that he does not disguise what he thinks in politically palatable slogans, but instead really describes the actual premises on which political beliefs are based. And that is Mansfield’s value; he is a clear and honest embodiment of what the Bush movement is. In particular, he makes crystal clear that the so-called devotion to a ’strong executive’ by the Bush administration and the movement which supports it is nothing more than a belief that the Leader has the power to disregard, violate, and remain above the rule of law. And that is clear because Mansfied explicitly says that. And that is not just Mansfield’s idiosyncratic belief. He is simply stating — honestly and clearly — the necessary premises of the model of the Omnipotent Presidency which has taken root under the Bush presidency.”

Glenn Greenwald - Salon

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Bill O'Reilly calls someone a derogatory name every 6.8 seconds

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Probes find 50 Afghan civilians killed in US-led action

"A United Nations investigation had so far found that 49 civilians lost their lives in the operation in the Zerkoh Valley, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Herat city, spokesman Adrian Edwards said."

Probes find 50 Afghan civilians killed in US-led action

Is it possible "they" hate us for reasons other than our freedoms? At some point (maybe that point has already arrived), if this continues, the citizens of Afghanistan will decide they are better off under the Taliban, right?

William F. Buckley, Jr. on Iraq

"What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it."

William F. Buckley Jr. on Iraq on National Review Online

Mr. Buckley is one of the leading conservative voices in America.

Olbermann Documents Bush's Shifting "Goals" of Iraq (video)

Key US Army ranks begin to thin

"The reenlistment rate for mid-grade enlisted soldiers dropped from 96 percent in 2005 to 84 percent in the first quarter of this year."

Key US Army ranks begin to thin |

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Last refuge of the scoundrel

"Bush supporters have been labeling war critics defeatists, appeasers and surrender monkeys ever since 9/11. Chickenhawk conservatives discovered they could attack even decorated war veterans with impunity, as the shameless smearing of triple amputee Vietnam War vet Max Cleland proved. Who could forget that glorious day when newly elected Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, attacked Rep. John Murtha, a war hero, by saying, "Cowards cut and run, Marines never do"?

Congress and the media's gutless reaction to these attacks is one of the main reasons they rolled over during the run-up to the war in Iraq. But those who live by bogus patriotic fearmongering die by bogus patriotic fearmongering. Having cast its lot irrevocably with Bush, the GOP is now condemned to play out the dismal endgame in Iraq by his all-or-nothing rules. They have no choice but to pretend victory is at hand, attack those who say otherwise, and make up apocalyptic scenarios about what al-Qaida will do to us if we don't stay the course. The problem is, no one believes any of this anymore -- probably not even the people who are saying it..."

"Churchill called for blood and sweat, Bush called for more shopping."

Last refuge of the scoundrel |

The Guantánamo Hunger Strike

"The exact number participating in the hunger strike is unclear because the military will not talk about it, but based on accounts emerging from the base through attorney-client notes as they get “cleared” by the military, we know the number is large. According to my Algerian client, Abdul Razak Ali, more than 46 prisoners are on hunger strike, but he is only in one section of the base, so presumably there are many more. The men participating in the hunger strike are force-fed “Ensure” twice a day. Each man is strapped to a chair (the model I saw was made of wood). A plastic tube approximately 30 inches in length is forced
down his esophagus... This is what your country is doing—in your name...

Every morning they insert the tube through Al-Haj’s left nostril and every afternoon, his right—presumably to avoid excessive pressure on a single nostril. According to Al-Haj, the pain of putting the tube up his nose is considerable; the tube’s diameter is 12 millimeters, (three times the clinically recommended width of a nasogastric tube) and he gags when it passes through his throat. As it descends into his body, the attendants blow air into the tube to hear where it is, and then they put a stethoscope near his heart to listen. Most days he suffers in silence until tears stream down his cheeks. Three times they have inserted the tube the wrong way, so it went into his lungs. When they think that has happened they check by putting water into the tube, which makes him choke. Al-Haj says that never once have the hospital personnel apologized when the tube entered his lung...

Why does Al-Haj continue to endure this torture? He said, “Food is not enough for life. If there is no air, could you live on food alone? Freedom is just as important as food or air. Give me freedom, and I’ll eat. Every day they ask me, when will I eat. Every day, I say, ‘Tomorrow.’ Every day. It’s what Scarlett O’Hara says at the end of
Gone With the Wind: ‘Tomorrow is another day.'’"

The Guantánamo Hunger Strike -- In These Times

Pentagon study says oil reliance strains military

A new study ordered by the Pentagon warns that the rising cost and dwindling supply of oil — the lifeblood of fighter jets, warships, and tanks — will make the US military’s ability to respond to hot spots around the world ‘unsustainable in the long term.’ The study, produced by a defense consulting firm, concludes that all four branches of the military must ‘fundamentally transform’ their assumptions about energy, including taking immediate steps toward fielding weapons systems and aircraft that run on alternative and renewable fuels. It is ‘imperative’ that the Department of Defense ‘apply new energy technologies that address alternative supply sources and efficient consumption across all aspects of military operations,’ according to the report.”

Pentagon study says oil reliance strains military - The Boston Globe

Embattled Interior official resigns post

"An Interior Department official accused of pressuring government scientists to make their research fit her policy goals has resigned. MacDonald, a civil engineer with no formal training in natural sciences, had served in her post since 2004. She was a senior adviser in the department for two years before that."

Embattled Interior official resigns post - Yahoo! News

Another unqualified administration appointee caught putting party before country. Bush continues to favor loyalty over competence. "Doin' a heckuva job, Brownie!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

US seeks to bar anti-Castro extremist to speak of CIA ties

"Declassified US documents show that Posada Carriles worked for the CIA from 1965 to June 1976. He reportedly helped the US government ferry supplies to the Contra rebels who waged a bloody campaign to topple the socialist Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s."

US seeks to bar anti-Castro extremist to speak of CIA ties - Yahoo! News

Price tag for war in Iraq on track to top $500 billion

"The bitter fight over the latest Iraq spending bill has all but obscured a sobering fact: The war will soon cost more than $500 billion.

That's about ten times more than the Bush administratioanticipated before the war started four years ago, and no one can predict how high the tab will go."

"What could that kind of money buy?

A college education - tuition, fees, room and board at a public university - for about half of the nation's 17 million high-school-age teenagers.

Pre-school for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country for the next eight years.

A year's stay in an assisted-living facility for about half of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older."
McClatchy Washington Bureau | 04/30/2007 | Price tag for war in Iraq on track to top $500 billion

The Man Who Sold the War

"It was damning stuff -- just the kind of evidence the Bush administration was looking for. If the charges were true, they would offer the White House a compelling reason to invade Iraq and depose Saddam. That's why the Pentagon had flown a CIA polygraph expert to Pattaya: to question al-Haideri and confirm, once and for all, that Saddam was secretly stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.

There was only one problem: It was all a lie. After a review of the sharp peaks and deep valleys on the polygraph chart, the intelligence officer concluded that al-Haideri had made up the entire story, apparently in the hopes of securing a visa.

The fabrication might have ended there, the tale of another political refugee trying to scheme his way to a better life. But just because the story wasn't true didn't mean it couldn't be put to good use. Al-Haideri, in fact, was the product of a clandestine operation -- part espionage, part PR campaign -- that had been set up and funded by the CIA and the Pentagon for the express purpose of selling the world a war."

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