Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bill Moyers’ Journal Looks At Fraud in Iraq

9/11 Is Over (Thomas Friedman)

A couple of other notable videos specific to GW Bush

(Inaccurate to me, not conspiracy - but still demonstrates a lack of capability for the office)

Gallup: Trust in Federal Government, On Nearly All Issues, Hits New Low -- Even Less Than in Watergate Era

New York’s oil spill is nearly three times larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster, says EPA


From April 2006, yet the issue remains today with Rumsfeld no longer delegated to

Senator Stevens' latest disaster while neglecting higher priorities

Ron Paul brings in $1million in less than a week, surpassing both Edwards and Richardson in end of quarter performance against goals.

Wow - Ron Paul blind support or not, that's impressive.  Below are the blog posts that record the onslaught:

Paul supports libertarian positions and is the only GOP presidential candidate to speak out against the war in Iraq. He has been at the receiving end of harsh criticism from other candidates for his Iraq stance, including during Republican debates.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Re: Iran labels CIA and U.S. Army as 'terrorist organizations'

Good summary related to the prior article...

Texas legislation

This would be hilarious if not for our current circumstances...

Iran labels CIA and U.S. Army as 'terrorist organizations'

Wonderful - now Iran's joined the idiot party.  I wonder how positively this will turn out?

Congress agrees to raise U.S. credit limit

The Senate voted 53-42 to raise the debt ceiling to $9.815 trillion, the fifth increase in the U.S. credit limit since President George W. Bush took office in January 2001.

U.S. debt stood at about $5.6 trillion at the start of Bush's presidency.

"Increasing the debt limit is necessary to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States of America," said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the senior Republican on the Finance panel.

Right - because the best way to preserve your credit is to keep borrowing more, not to demonstrate fiscal responsibility.  Our whole governmental/political situation is so broken right now it isn't even funny, and the ramifications will be felt for generations.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iran warns West against attack

Cheney mulled Israeli strike on Iran: Newsweek

Teacher: I was fired, said Bible isn't literal


Ouch - not a good milestone to be passing

Especially when you consider that both have been dropping to Europe/Asia, and it's just that we're nosediving faster...

CNN: Blackwater staff to face criminal charges in Iraq

Good follow-up to this article from yesterday:
Iraq: Blackwater guards fired unprovoked
which had this gem:

It is doubtful that foreign security contractors could be prosecuted under Iraqi law. A directive issued by U.S. occupation authorities in 2004 granted contractors, U.S. troops and many other foreign officials immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.

Security contractors are also not subject to U.S. military law under which U.S. troopers face prosecution for killing or abusing Iraqis.

Iraqi officials have said in the wake of the Nisoor Square shooting that they will press for amendments to the 2004 directive.

And also reminds me of this older video of prior abuses (though if I remember right, this was Aegis instead of Blackwater, though they're basically the same):


Daily Show: Greenspan Cracks a Joke and Breaks It Down

Outstanding interview between Jon Stewart and Alan Greenspan - the video's on the left hand side. 
I would be interested to know how much experience Greenspan has with business systems and the internet before concluding that we can't do any better than we have been for the past 50 years, though - it reminds me of when Larry King confessed to Rosie O'Donnell a few months back that he had never used the internet (despite his position of "credibility").

Congress Demands DEA to Allow Private Marijuana Cultivation

(I know, not a great source, but the facts/letter are there)
I think the title's off, as I can't remember the last time Congress took any noticeable action except to continue funding Bush's war and of course the very important issue.
The other thing that's interesting is that it's a slew of Democrats (including John Kerry)...  and Ron Paul.  Just a reminder that whoever our next President is should be willing to work across parties, regardless of whether the solution's along party lines or not ( i.e., if if the official party line seems to be wrong).  I know Paul's not a perfect candidate, but he is a great example of sticking to true principles regardless of perceived political expediency, and that's a trait that should be admired. 

At present, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a monopoly on the production of

marijuana for legitimate medical and research purposes in the United States. Judge Bittner found

this monopoly to be unjustified, since federal law clearly requires adequate competition in the

manufacture of Schedule I and I1 substances. (See 21 U.S.C.

$ 823(a)(1); see also 21 C.F.R. 8



As one of your predecessors, DEA Administrator Robert Bonner, stated, "Those who insist that

marijuana has medical uses would serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more

legitimate scientific research, rather than throwing their time, money and rhetoric into lobbying

public relations campaigns and perennial litigation." We urge you to accept Judge Bittner's

recommendation that it would be in the public interest for DEA to grant Prof. Craker's

application for registration as a bulk manufacturer so that such legitimate and privately-funded

scientific research will be conducted.

Why isn't Congress asking tough questions about Pentagon spending?

The military budget in question—not including any money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—totals $500 billion. This is roughly equal to the military budgets of all the rest of the world's nations combined. Adjusting for inflation, it is larger than the U.S. military budget at the peak of the Cold War—in fact, larger than any budget since the Korean War. Again, this is true, apart from the money allocated for the current wars.
And so, the senators aren't debating money, weapons, priorities, or policies. But they did beat up those leftist bullies who were picking on David Petraeus.

Chaser - Should all U.S. Muslims carry a special ID?

Chaser's was the same team that got to the second level of security dressed as Osama Bin Laden at the APEC conference Bush attended a couple weeks ago. 
I'm sure these are the cherry-picked most outrageous answers, but crikey, nonetheless...

US collecting data on overseas travellers

the retained data included travel companions, persons with whom Americans plan to stay abroad, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travellers have carried.
The Automated Targeting System has been used to screen passengers since the mid-1990s, but the collection of data for it has been greatly expanded and automated since 2002, according to the paper.
The activists alleged the data collection effort, as carried out now, violates the Privacy Act, which bars the gathering of data related to Americans' exercise of their First Amendment rights, such as their choice of reading material or persons with whom to associate



Saturday, September 22, 2007

Iraq war budget jumps for 2008, to become the most expensive year yet of the Iraq war.

Select forum quotes:
There are up and coming alternative energy companies that claim 4-6 years will yield results that can enable them to "furnish much of the nation's electricity if available residential and commercial rooftops were fully utilized."

They have US$120 million which they've raised through various charitable and investment sources and are underfunded.

x 10,000
(The total estimated cost of the Iraq war. Thats one trillian so you don't have to lose seconds of your life counting the zeros)

So you could fund TEN THOUSAND companies who promise 4-6 year turnaround on usable solar nanotechnology.
Alternatively you could fund 1 company 10,000 times over.
Or you could put it into humanitarian aid, make it public knowledge that solar is around the corner and get the public backing the only real solution to the problem rather than backing a war on an abstract concept which according to Greenspan, Mandela and earlier Australia's Defence minister Brendan Nelson, is about this ultimately unnecessary but profitable consumer energy source.

They can have zero dollars for this war for oil and a fucking noose as far as i'm concerned.
Keep reaching for that 10 trillion rainbow ( ).. that's right, a national debt of 10 trillion dollars can be YOURS with just one more gigantic check!

And congrats to Bush on being the first to change a surplus into an enormous country-destroying debt, while still making himself out as a hero.
I am sick of this bullshit.

We do not have the money, plain and simple.

The money does not exist to fund this war, it exists as credit, as debt, as future tax raises, as IOUs, compromises, and favors.

Bush doesn't have the money, no one does. Stop fucking up the financial future of America with ridiculously idiotic decisions.
--> You are correct. Most people don't realize the trillion spent on war in middle east is not part of the defense budget, it is earmarked separately for our future generation to pay the price. Sick. sick!
Heh, nice.
Bush says that the Child Heath Care plan is too expensive at $35 billion, and then turns around to request an additional $200 billion for his war.

screw bush and his request, stop spending our money on your lie!

impeach the bastard

Republicans, do you honestly believe that Iraq will be any different next year if you spend $200 billion? Can you actually justify the money that has been wasted so far and given to private contractors who on almost every occasion have failed to deliver?
How are we supposed to be winning the war on terror again? If he spends the country into bankruptcy, and nobody can afford their mortgages anymore, and people lose their trust in democracy, who is really winning?

The democrats are still acting like they're the minority party and I for one am damn fucking tired of this shit. They won a landslide except for one single seat in Congress, but they still act like dripping wet pussies. Guess what, the reason Congress has an 11% approval rating is because you keep letting the Republicans get their way! It's no coincidence that the Republican voters give Congress a higher approval rating, it's because the minority party is getting what it wants out of Congress! Now these fucking Republicans are going to steamroll your asses because you're nothing but a bunch of self-conscious pussies half-stepping their way to 2008. FUCK THAT SHIT AND GET WITH THE PROGRAM! Start fighting or start losing.

Interesting point: The healthcare and drugs of the 60 million people in britain costs around £100 billion, or approximately the US spending on the Iraq war.

To put that in context: If the US stopped spending money on Iraq, they could run a complete health service for the 60 million most needy. If they didn't pay for drugs, and only for healthcare, they could probably afford to pay for the entire US health system. No tax rises or other public spending cuts needed.

Re: 24 years on - The man who saved millions of lives

Scary to think about how many untold times we might have had close calls with World War III...

24 years on - The man who saved millions of lives

The Colbert clip you DIDN'T need to see

Morning in America

Blackwater denies smuggling weapons to Iraq

Get troops out of Iraq, let states decide marijuana issue, GOP candidate says


I stumbled across this site through an interesting Kucinich interview - but it's pure gold.  Just the combination of the C-SPAN highlights and Commonwealth Club highlights is outstanding by itself.  
Here's the home page:
And here's a great starting point: (Tom Campbell lights the fire in the first minute and a half)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Giuliani's proposal for endless Middle East wars on behalf of Israel

Plainly, the last thing most Americans want is for the U.S. to expand its involvement in Middle East wars, particularly when doing so is on behalf of the interests not of the U.S., but of another country. Yet here is Giuliani advocating that we do exactly that -- embrace an obviously radical strategy opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans, likely vehemently opposed -- and the silence is deafening.

Blackwater Resumes Guarding U.S. Envoys in Iraq

Petraeus on Britney

Funny satire...

Duverger's Law

Just random politics reading I was doing (regarding third parties :-), but I thought it was interesting...

The 10 Regions of US Politics

Interesting idea...

Back from Iraq (picture)

Very moving picture that captures a lot...

Bush: ad on Petraeus 'disgusting' - but oh, the hypocrisy...

A Senate GOP amendment to repudiate the ad passed Thursday 72-25 as Republicans tried to force Democrats to distance themselves, on the record, from the controversy.

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the amendment "gives our colleagues a chance to distance themselves from these despicable tactics, distance themselves from the notion that some group literally has them on a leash, like a puppet on a string."

Among Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut voted against the resolution. Sens. Joe Biden of Delaware and Barack Obama of Illinois didn't vote.

The Democrats on Thursday failed to pass their resolution. It included a condemnation of the "unwarranted personal attack" on Petraeus, but also condemned "personal attacks" that happened in 2002 against then-Democratic Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia and attacks in 2004 against Sen. John Kerry. The vote was 51-46, but 60 votes were needed to proceed.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she faults the Republicans for blocking the Democratic resolution praising Cleland, who was wounded while serving in Vietnam, and Kerry, who is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.

"The Senate just voted to denounce, condemn, whatever it is, MoveOn for that ad, but at same time, they rejected assaults on those who have served in our military with great heroism -- the Boxer amendment," Pelosi said. " It seems that the Republicans are selective in how they want to honor those who are serving or have served in the military. It was very disappointing, but it was also very telling."


Reminds me of Olbermann's statement from this week:

Anonymous senator puts hold on bill unsealing presidential papers

No mention of John Kyl?

Re: Idiocracy intro

On 9/21/07, CShack <> wrote:
A movie which went too slow in places, but whose intro I loved (I think they had a graph showing the progressive decline of IQ somewhere in the movie too).  In the movie, the President used to be a pro wrestler and porn star, and his popularity allowed him to become president...

Idiocracy intro

A movie which went to slow in places, but whose intro I loved (I think they had a graph showing the progressive decline of IQ somewhere in the movie too).  In the movie, the President used to be a pro wrestler and porn star, and his popularity allowed him to become president...

Bush Claims He "Got A B In Econ 101"

President Bush as an undergraduate at Yale did not in fact receive a grade of B in his economics course. Bush received a grade that would correspond with a C-.

Ahmadinejad Comments On Ground Zero Flap

I personally don't believe it is right for Ahmadinejad to visit Ground Zero.  Not because he had anything whatsoever to do with 9/11, but because so far as I know he did nothing to support us during the response.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Senate Votes to Condemn MoveOn for Ad Attacking General Petraeus

Wow - this is what Congress finds the time and spine for? 
Petraeus indeed has some outstanding qualifications, but I can't think of a single human being on this planet that has earned the right never to be questioned on anything.  Some of his responses ("Is our presence in Iraq making America safer?  ...I don't know") were forthright even if concerning, and those answers should be examined on their merits. 
This move by Congress gives way too much weight to both the perceived danger of organizations like and the sanctity of being in the military.  And it avoids much more important topics that need to be resolved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Re: Gitmo detainees dealt legal blow in US Senate

Here's another good article - and on a side note, just wanted to again note my admiration for Olympia Snowe, who I'd vote for in a heartbeat if she were running for President.

Gitmo detainees dealt legal blow in US Senate

Wow.  I could see it if the detainees who had given a trial were consistently proven guilty, but the absence of that makes this decision stunning.  I searched for the bill to see who voted against it - below is the best I could find, though it doesn't look like the voting record is there yet...

How much will U.S. housing prices fall?


Monday, September 17, 2007

On Wikipedia, Debating 2008 Hopefuls' Every Facet

Former RI Sen. Lincoln Chafee Leaves GOP

Interesting/sad - all of the moderate Republicans seem to be giving up (Hagel, now Chafee, etc.). 
I had similarly been considering two opposing strategies for 2008: 1) Pushing for Ron Paul to get in as the only non-lunatic (though flawed) Republican candidate, or 2) just straightforward supporting the downfall of the neocon branch of the Republicans in 2008. 
While it concerns me that it's still basically a "choice A or choice B" with lots of room for Choice B to still get votes, it does look like most are starting to choose the latter, and that might be what has the momentum...

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

At Nuremberg, US prosecutors charged the Nazis, among many other heinous crimes, with...

At Nuremberg, US prosecutors charged the Nazis, among many other heinous crimes, with "the apprehension of victims and their confinement without trial, often without charges, generally with no indication of the length of their detention"

Which Middle East country held spontaneous candlelight vigils for victims of the World Trade Center Attack on 9/11?

Israel actually did too, but the point remains.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Up to 80 congressmen visit Israel in August

While it's from a distinctly-biased blog, that's still an amazing factual number, considering both Israel's conflicts with Iran and the more conspiracy-related PNAC doctrine (in which the Middle East is remade with Israel as its capital, with the same operational excellence we've seen in Iraq)...

Interesting/sad map graphic

What Bush's invasion would look like in the United States

Gates: I Would Recommend That The President Veto Giving Troops More Time At Home

Funny Clinton picture from the days of old

Bush setting America up for war with Iran

Bush Settles on Mukasey to Replace Gonzales

Paul: U.S. Has 'Dug a Hole' for Itself in Iraq

Richardson connects Pats to Bush

Here are more details of Belichik's evasive maneuvers, good strategy tips for if you ever have to do the same. :-P
To cover the politics angle, here's a forum post:

This really shows how smoked the American public really are.

The Bush Admin is 100% successful. Everything they planned in PNAC has happened so far. Invading countries with OIL. Setting permanent military bases in the Middle East.

Taking more power from the people and giving it to the President.

Hell, he even used basic sales strategy and pulled off a 30k increase in troops, keeps them there for over a year. Will slowly give in to the surge reduction and he is still at the base starting level and the American people think they have done something!

The Bush Admin makes FOOLS out of the American people every day, and most are too stupid to even see it!

He is not crazy, he is just smarter than you!


The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

I'm going to get ripped for the source, but this was a worthy read...

User-news sites offer diverse stories, some questionable sources

Fairly accurate introductory article, though I think it misses 3 things:
1) Fact-checking: Inaccurate information very rarely gets above 5 upvotes, so while it's true that someone can post wildly-erroneous information and that sometimes a certain topics can get "swarmed" by biased upvoters, I still have found my information absorption from social news to be much more valuable than the traditional approach.
2) The fact that immigration was only on the front page once is misleading - I guarantee you there's a good portion of the social news readership who wouldn't be sitting in front of the TV watching the news anyway, and they didn't mention categories within the sites, like or, both of which I spend a good amount of time getting information from regardless of if it makes it to the general population's front page or not.  I'd guess gamers, sports addicts, etc., might use the same approach to get their focused information while also keeping an eye on what makes the front page.
3) I hadn't heard the "you're draining funds from investigative reporting" argument before.  Again, though, I hope the army of individual contributors, combined with appropriate upvotes for factual information, would supplant this while ushering in a new and better era of true information gathering and distribution.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Daily Show: Petraeus coverage

Scathingly funny critique of each of the players (without even touching Petraeus' answers, surprisingly), though I think Hagel's point was correct (it wasn't clear if Stewart was goofing on him specifically or just saw the opening for a joke).  The rest of the questioners in the video are all candidates for replacement in my opinion.
I happened to catch the most stunning question though, one by John Warner, as it happened.  I couldn't find the video online quickly, but here's an article about it:
It was amazing to see Petraeus not be willing to answer that question affirmatively and resoundingly.  While I think Barack Obama was right in questioning the propriety of scheduling these hearings during the sixth anniversay of September 11th, I hope that it might turn out to be an unanticipated blessing to see the anniversary contrasted against such hesitance in saying that our Iraq policy makes America safer.  It similarly calls to mind the Giuliani/Ron Paul debate about blowback and who the real winner of that point was. 
Now if only there was collective courage in the Congress to drive real, positive change...

Google, at age 10, is the official heart of the Internet

No less notable because of the irony of the source. ;-)

Probably the only Ron Paul piece for today

This is a pretty astounding metric:
Paul has become somewhat of an online phenomenon, cultivating a large Internet following that has landed him 54 million Google hits, which is more than the rest of the Republican and Democratic candidates combined.
Here's a portion of his speech, notable because he had an additional perspective on immigration that I hadn't heard other candidates voice (though not a specific strategy really, it does help define his vision):

Friday, September 14, 2007

Smart strategy by Giuliani

Never thought I'd say that - but I bet this ad he took out in the same exact place as the MoveOn one boosts his campaign...

Billions Over Baghdad

Between April 2003 and June 2004, $12 billion in U.S. currency—much of it belonging to the Iraqi people—was shipped from the Federal Reserve to Baghdad, where it was dispensed by the Coalition Provisional Authority. Some of the cash went to pay for projects and keep ministries afloat, but, incredibly, at least $9 billion has gone missing, unaccounted for, in a frenzy of mismanagement and greed.
To me, this should be the expose of the year - the article's long but worth reading word for word.  If there's any corroborating evidence for this article, the entire Thomas Howell section was jaw-dropping, as was the clarity of Bremer's guilt and numerous other high positions within the Bush Administration.  There couldn't have been a better concluding sentence to this article, and it's par for the course for the approach used all the time by the President himself (strength through secrecy). 
The whole thing makes me think about this all over again:
And yet it all continues...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Bases Are Loaded (the beginning of the mega-bases)

Interesting independent reporting on the bases (and embassy) "luxuries" we've built in Iraq...

"Broken Government", by John Dean

But in recent years the system has changed, and is no longer self-correcting. Most of that change has come from Republicans, and much of it is based on their remarkably confrontational attitude, an attitude that has clearly worked for them. For example, I cannot imagine any Democratic president keeping cabinet officers as Bush has done with his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, men whom both Democrats and Republicans judged to be incompetent.  Evidence that the system has changed is also apparent when a president can deliberately and openly violate the law -- as, for example, simply brushing aside serious statutory prohibitions against torture and electronic surveillance -- without any serious consequences.

Rep. Wexler: Gen. Petraeus testimony eerily similar to Westmoreland and Vietnam

Democrats Spot Something... (cartoon)

This is one of the first political cartoons I've seen in a long time that's actually funny (more so because it's kidding on the square)...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pelosi: President's Policy is a Path to 10 More Years of War in Iraq

Wow, great statement Nancy!  Here are a bunch of forum quotes I wholeheartedly agree with (she's almost my new Alberto Gonzales :-P):
She has some nerve. She's pointing her finger at Bush, yet she won't consider impeachment? She deserves to have her head on the chopping block as much as the rest of them. The law has a word for what she is: Accessory, accessory to an illegal war and the murder of innocent civilians.
That Speaker of yours is one sharp cookie. Bush has been stringing your "leaders" along like a puppet master. The incredible part is the whole time he'sbeen doing it to them, they have been calling him incompetent and an idiot. NOW, who's the idiot? That would be YOU.
Person 1: Unless the word is IMPEACHMENT, I don't wanna hear a word out of her mouth.
Person 2: I'm a democrat, and yes it sucks that Pelosi does not want to pursue impeachment. The question first came to her in a pre 2006 election interview when the dems seemed to be picking up steam in the midst of republican hubris. The question was posed to try and put Pelosi in a pickle...If she answered yes, she would lose many of the republican swing voters that were essential to the 2006 democratic victory. She chose to say no which is a shame, but in the end completely necessary because if she said she would impeach bush in that pre-election interviews, republican pundits would have latched onto that statement and divebombed the democratic chances for 2006.  It sucks when politicians have to stray from their ideologies to garner votes from the other side of the aisle, but those little miniscule trade-offs can mean more power in the hands of your party to deal with incompetent politicians in other ways.
Person 3:I agree, your party has perfected pandering beyond all others. But she is in power now and has been for a while with no forward movement.
Well then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. The people elected your sorry asses to congress and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. You useless democrats haven't amounted to jack squat; people are still dying in iraq, soldiers are still being sent there, and as always your spineless selves are coming through as expected. Enough lip service, get busy.
Person 1: She is worthless as a speaker... we need someone up there that is willing to go toe to toe with Bush's cronies... instead we got a parrot.
Person 2: Could not agree more. Cannot name one accomplishment Pelosi and her cohorts have delivered that I care about. All smoke and no fire across the board.
So, Nancy, is IMPEACHMENT ON YOUR TABLE YET? It's been on everyone else's for months now.  At this point, not impeaching these imbecilic, greedy chickenhawks will cost the Dems votes next year, and the longer Pelosi and Reid wait, the more votes will go away.  There are mountains of evidence to throw in these bastards' faces. They lied to Congress, for shit's sake.
No Impeachment? Pelosi gets to look for a new job after the next election.
I sense another strongly-worded, non-binding resolution coming on. That'll show them, Mrs. Speaker!
She is correct...she is also in a position to do something about it...
So, Nancy?
Her total lack of action makes one wonder what would happen once we elect a democrat president.

Monday, September 10, 2007

" facilitate the use of the capabilities of the intelligence community for civil, non-defense uses in the United States."

"I've got a bad feeling about this..."
- Han Solo

Perspectives on Petraeus and Iraq

Petraeus calls for cutting U.S. troops in Iraq
So a year from now we might be back to pre-Surge levels.  Good news, but certainly nowhere near great (80%+ of the current number of troops will still be over there, and I would guess there will still be a similar economically-unsustainable impact continuing).
GOP calls on top Senate Dem to condemn anti-Petraeus ad
Video: Claim v. Fact on Iraq

Petraeus report on Iraq on CSPAN right now

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Latest Bin Laden Video Is a Forgery: All References to Current Events Are Made During Video Freeze

And check out this scary technology that's been around for at least 5 years or so:

7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable

Heh - Cracked is more interesting that I remember it being (a competitor to goofy Mad Magazine, with Alfred E. Neuman):
From there, I also saw this one, which also had a funny bit on John McCain:

The Secret Government: The Constitution in Crisis, by Bill Moyers (1987)

Bush Appointee Chooses Campaigns for Evangelicals Over Paying Veterans' Benefits

Classic line from the article, reminds me of similar conversations I've had regarding some project managers I've worked with:
"We could have done just as poorly as he's done by sticking a German Shepard or a cactus in that job."

F.B.I. Data Mining Reached Beyond Initial Targets

The documents indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on individuals it saw as targets but also details on their "community of interest" — the network of people that the target was in contact with.
This is like social networking on steroids, without the opt-in (or opt-out).  Take my case: I know someone directly who knows Larry Ellison, I know 5 people who know people who know Nancy Pelosi, and I even know 9 people who know people who know people who know George W. Bush. 
I would hate for anyone to judge me based on those associations. :-P

Home raided by SWAT, burned to ground, dog killed due to poor information - and this guy's got a history

This story's very one-sided (and a few years old):
But wow, does that sheriff have lots of evidence of needing replacement:

Introducing The Most Impressive Cell Phone Bill Of The 110th Congress

Good forum post:
This still has to go through a subcommittee, a full committee, the Senate, the House, and President Bush. Don't hold your breath.  And for the love of god, read the fine print and all the subsections.
Here's the best url I could find for it, though that "temp" makes me nervous:


Re: Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future

One further thought. 
The two graphs at the right indicate something to me - that while our citizens in general are almost keeping up with the rest of the world (subscriptions), our government's responses are what are miles behind the rest of the world (connection speeds set by monopolies instead of by competition).

Japan's Warp-Speed Ride to Internet Future

Don't think this will impact our abilities in the competitive landscape?  I'd hasten to disagree...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Bush goes into gaffe overdrive

The good news is, we're now officially down to only 500 more days of Bush being President - what could possibly go wrong?  
I really can't imagine mistakenly thinking you were attending an OPEC summit in Australia (or Austria, for that matter!), and yet this is who is entrusted with leading our country.  It comes back to that "failed out of high school" comment I made previously (though somehow, Bush is actually the first President who's held an MBA - which tarnishes the spirit for the rest of us!).
It similarly reminds me of the quote by Ann Richards about Bush Sr. - "born with a silver foot in his mouth" or something like that. 
--> I tracked it down, here's that speech, a lot of which could easily be re-used today for GWB:
Some select comments from the web that I agree with:
Am I the only one that pictures Bush acting like Stifler from American Pie, when he goes to all these foreign events?
"Hey all you silly Austrians! Glad to be at this event... the um... whatever the hell you call it, I don't really give a shit, I was lying anyways. Hey, why don't you all send some troops to Iraq like my other bitches do? Oh yea, and don't scratch my jet, it's worth more than your GDP."
Wait, NOW he's making Americans look bad to the rest of the world..?
*sigh* ... For fuck's sakes, man...
i'm not even sure what to say here.... just sheer disappointment.
Jesus, wasn't this a joke in Dumb & Dumber? And this is the president of our country.
--> The supermodel was from Austria and Jim Carrey's character said, "Austria! well put another shrimp on the barbie." Similar to Bush's gaffe, except in reverse.
OMFG OMFG OMFG. Thank god I voted against him every fucking time, including his runs for governor in Texas. Everyone who did vote for him should have themselves neutered, for the sake of humanity.
I know people make mistakes, but he's the FUCKING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!!! This is just embarrassing.
I'm not from the US. My political leanings are toward Republicans though two party races are never nuanced enough to represent my beliefs. Anyway, I just want to say that George Bush is an embarrassment to the modern era.

Wasn't this a joke in dumb and dumber? Like, I laughed a lot in 1994 when a comic buffoon made such an obvious mistake. Well, I'm not laughing now.
How can this guy be leader of the USA? It's incredible really...I'm speechless.

September 15 - Join Thousands to Turn Up the Heat

This has been all over the internet for the last few weeks, but I'm not sure how aware of it other people are.  Figured I'd send it on - expect to have to deal with all sorts of hippies and conspiracy theorists, but the core message is right...

Fox News Angles for Rabid GOP Debate

Heh - I usually read TheStreet for its financial perspectives, so was surprised to find this fairly accurate account of the Fox News debates from last week:
And on a side note, this is one time when I'm glad Fox went for the action instead of tossing aroung weak talking point questions - with the exception of Chris Wallace's typical buffoonery, it was great to see that they went for questions that focused on the real issues Republicans are probably thinking about.
Though, of course, this is the reason I'm sending this out: :-P
Paul remains the only antiwar candidate and doesn't mind saying the war is unconstitutional. He thinks the war was a mistake. Why continue a mistake when the cost of the war is high in both American lives and money? he asks. He appears to be the only GOP candidate who's aware that Iraq and 9/11 aren't connected.

Paul also seems to be the only candidate who opposes Bush's usurpation of power. He appears to be the only one familiar with concepts in the Constitution like habeas corpus or civil rights.
I read something last week that I thought really hit it on the head, whether you agree with Ron Paul's specific policies or not.  It said something along the lines of this: "Why does Ron Paul seem like the only Republican on the stage who got a decent education, while everyone else seems like they failed out of high school?"
Or another bit I read that was similarly true: Why is Ron Paul the only one in the "conservative" arena who is arguing for a smaller government?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fuzzy Bush math

Re: Two news items getting play tonight

Okay, I tracked down the Ron Paul portions of the debate (his audience is pretty tech-savvy :-):
Three things of note:
1) I'm glad to see him getting more airtime and positive response - at least he's much more thought-provoking than most of the other candidates who are practically clones of each other.  If he wins at least 10% (or much more) of the RNC vote, I believe it will be good for our country (for several different reasons), and even better if the same is true in nationwide polls.
2) Those open mic laughs and sighs in this version were really wierd - I could have sworn they weren't in the live version, though maybe I was filtering them out because I wanted to hear what was being said.
3) This was the first Republican debate I've seen where it might be worth tracking down the other candidates' perspectives - I don't know if it's because the shady concerted message is weaker now with Rove gone or what, but they each had some strong and differentiating perspectives throughout the night.

Two news items getting play tonight

1)  The Republican debate (on Fox News) was orders of magnitude better than any other Republican debate I've seen this election cycle.  I unfortunately wouldn't be surprised to find out that Fox News provided the questions ahead of time, but no matter what it was a great and relatively intelligent clash on several ideas.  There was one particular multi-exchange between Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee that I think accurately portrayed the most admirable parts of both factions within the Republican party, to Ron Paul's ultimate victory in my opinion (but with good clear represenation by Huckabee on his faction's perspective).  Practically all candidates had at least one strong response - and McCain reminded me partially of the McCain of old who might have had my vote.
I think what's important is to make sure that prior statements are discussed against these new stances, to see candidates clarify their positions on the issues (and the public to determine if that reconciliation was successful).
2) Larry King interviewed Bill Clinton on CNN, and again lots of great topics and insights.

Both are currently being replayed on their channels.

Dick Cheney's top aide: "We're one bomb away" from our goal

Opinion piece, not great writing style, but worth investigation. (not that we'd do anything about it if there was any truth to them ;-)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Of Iran, the CIA, and nuclear blueprints

I like that title better than the dumb one in this article, which tries to lay full blame at Bush's feet despite the historical contexts it itself provides.  Still an interesting, if frustrating, read...

Flags of our sons? Will this be the symbol of the Iraq invasion?

First and foremost, YES I KNOW IT'S A FAKE PICTURE - sorry, I had to get that out. 
That said, it still successfully drew an unwilling chuckle from me.  Almost even brings a tear to the eye...

Independent Audit Finds Progress Lacking in Iraq

There have been lots of times I thought Harry Reid was coming at things from the wrong angle - but I think the last paragraph of this article is 100% correct.  If things need to be handled a certain way, Bush should have been honest about it up front - don't just keep pushing for extensions, changes of focus, etc... that's the epitome of horrible project management.   Either way, it's time to make a decision on what the best way truly is at this point.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Katie Couric Interviews Bush In Iraq

This is the second article today in which Bush has actually sounded semi-presidential; I have to admit, I'm a little stunned.
While I don't want to rain on his parade too much when things seem to be trending upwards, it's important to remember two things:
1) This war has absolutely decimated our national economy, though the effects probably won't really become obvious for another year or two (once alternatives have been exhausted in keeping this away from the public eye), and
2) [Couric] also recounted "signs of life that seem to be normal" at a market she visited, but then conceded that the positive aspects of her report are based on "what the U.S. military wants" her to see.

Bush draws al-Maliki to Anbar to show example of success

Wow, six and a half years later, the guy actually does something presidential...  (better late than never still applies)

Violent police attack family home by mistake.

I know, I know, the corporate media will pick up on this and verify it etc, but I've found that blogs often provide information sooner and with more reference points to further details (such as the corporate media first link and the Cato Institute's map).  I'll accept the trade-off in referencing a blog with a name as repugnant as "Classically Liberal". :-P

British withdraw to Basra airport base

This was the most complete info I could find, though I know it's not a great mainstream source (it's more like our People magazine here in the U.S.).  The summary is still pretty much the same as the ABC, NYT etc articles.
It's great to see the UK stepping up and showing how to get things done.  Hopefully we'll follow their lead and progressively hand off control as was originally described, and be available only on an as-needed basis (though our gluttony-riddled embassy would indicate otherwise).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

So you’re about to be invaded by the United States.

Nominated for Best Of Craigslist, especially when complemented by this forum post:

When Stoners Write

OK this is a cool article but for two things:

one -- too many damned words. bla bla bla. Keep it simple. The people are about to be invaded. They don't have time to read the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

two -- your sequence is off. You lead with the big drug elements, which are a separate interposed infrastructure that can't get off the ground until the violence ebbs. This, incidentally, is what makes me think this is stoner-authored. Dude, Where's My Invasion Sequence?

I'd resequence it roughly like this, were I the author:

1 -- greatly increased violence

2 -- demolition of infrastructure

3 -- massive death toll

4 -- shortage of basic goods

5 -- disease revival

6 -- toxic agents everywhere

7 -- bribery

8 -- influx of foreigners

9 -- slavery

10 -- explosion or introduction of the drug trade

I had really good luck corresponding with a WSJ author recently, so I decided to also email this to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - I'll let you know if I hear back.
(hey, any humor at this point is good humor, right?)


Will President Bush bomb Iran?

IAEA: Iran Cooperating In Nuclear Investigation

Re: Welcome to the new US embassy

One more - when I read this piece from the article (same link as before),
Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which uncovered the existence of Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, said the IAEA was being strung along. "A number of nuclear sites have not even been visited by the IAEA," he said. "They're giving a clean bill of health to a regime that is known to have practised deception."
It sounded very familiar to the Iraq lead-up, but I couldn't remember the guy's name that it rang a bell for so I left it out.  I have since tracked it down:
In the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under his guidance the INC provided a major portion of the information on which U.S. Intelligence based its condemnation of Saddam Hussein, including reports of weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to al-Qaeda. Nearly all, if not all, of this information has turned out to be false.

Fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice...  shame on us.
So the big open question for both Republicans and Democrats is: What can be done to stop from repeating a now-established history of military action based on acceptance of falsified information (only this time in an even more disastrous fashion)?

Re: Welcome to the new US embassy

And speaking of flashbacks...
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week reported "significant" cooperation with Iran over its nuclear programme and said that uranium enrichment had slowed. Tehran has promised to answer most questions from the agency by November, but Washington fears it is stalling to prevent further sanctions.
You know what the next step is from here...

Welcome to the new US embassy

Our tax dollars hard at work, for contemporary imperialism at its finest.  I'm having deja vu back to the elections of 2000, when there seemed to be a chasm between those being put in power and those who were thinking about America's best interests over their own. 
Does anyone truly believe that this is an example of anything except our administration's greed in foreign policy? 
And yet they stay in power...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Washington's Dirty Little Secret

Sorry for the sucker-punch at the end, but pay attention to the rest at least. :-P

Stanford Letters to the Editor (Condi's return)

Yowza - straight to the heart of the matter...

Iran Air Flight 655 (1988)

Yeesh - regardless of what was known about the type of plane it was, the facts that resulted even back then from our bull-headed foreign policy are these...
Iran Air Flight 655 (IR655) was a commercial flight operated by Iran Air that flew from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai, UAE.  On Sunday July 3, 1988, towards the end of the Iran Iraq War, the aircraft flying IR655 was shot down by the U.S. Navy Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes between Bandar Abbas and Dubai, killing all 290 passengers and crew aboard, including 38 non-Iranians and 66 children. The Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters at the time.
The event triggered an intense controversy, with Iran condemning the shootdown as a "barbaric act." On the other hand, George H.W. Bush, at the time Vice President of the United States in the Reagan Administration, defended his country at the United Nations by declaring that the shootdown had been a wartime incident and that the crew of the Vincennes had acted appropriately to the situation at the time. At a news conference on 2 August 1988 he said "I will never apologize for the United States of America—I don't care what the facts are" in reference to the incident. [2]

Two memorable quotes from forums

More often than not, modern "democracy" means making costs public and making profits private.

Capitalism has its business everywhere, and as long as it has a place in the world, a hegemon will always rise. Today US, tomorrow capitalist China or pick your candidate; same kind of oppression, different name.

3 conversation-starters on education

20/20 Stupid in America
(I liked a lot of the points made, but was a little distressed to see that their ultimate recommendation was the voucher system.  I'm curious what everyone else thinks about this)
What Do Teachers Really Make?
120 Years of Literacy