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(May 1, 2005)

At Let's Talk About Democracy on the 25th I commented on the visit to Bush's ranch in Waco of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah. W said he wanted "a straight answer" on how much oil the Saudis would be pumping. He's real concerned about the high price of gas. Oh, you bet. Terrorism was also very important in these discusions (Not.), so much so that the WaPo reported "Bush's White House-based homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, is meeting with her Saudi counterparts on the sidelines."

Perhaps all this talk of terrorism makes the Prince a little nervous? But, never mind 9-11, all is forgiven. The Post: "despite the difficult matters, Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the stage is set for a much friendlier meeting Monday than three years ago when Abdullah first visited the ranch." The question is why? What have they done for us lately?

Robert Jordan, by the way, worked for Baker-Botts (After he was Bush's personal lawyer.) the law firm that is defending the Saudis against a lawsuit brought by the family members of those killed on 9-11. I don't see any conflict of interest here, do you?

On the 26th the BBC reported the U.S. investigation into the killing of Nicola Calipari by U.S. troops at a checkpoint, as he escorted newly freed hostage Giuliana Sgrena to Baghdad's airport, had found "that the troops were "not culpable", in a report which Italy has not endorsed." Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, is in hot water over this issue. The majority of Italians are really torked off about Berlusconi sending troops in Iraq and this incident is putting real pressure on him to stand up to the Americans. With elections coming up this fall, the chances are Berlusconi will bring the troops home in September. I know W does't understand these things, but in other democratic countries the politians have to listen to their own people. Spain showed Jose Maria Aznar where to get off on Iraq, Tony Blair is very unpopular because of his puddle-like devotion to Bush and if the Torys weren't so boring he'd be out of office too. Berlusconi is on very thin ice, he could be gone as well because of his support for Bush's war. [See links to previous investigations into U.S. "accidents" at LTAD.]

On the 27th the A.P. reported "The Bush administration has authorized the sale of as many as 100 large bunker-buster bombs to Israel" At first, a resonable person might ask, why on earth does Israel need bunker busting bombs? When you take into account we've given them the green light to attack Iran, the picture becomes a little more clear. Also, "the proposed deal (would be) worth as much as $30 million." Win, win! I'm sure the Israelis have taken into account the resale value of this deal, too. The Chinese might need some bunker busters down the road. Or the Indians.

On the 29th I almost fell out of my chair when I heard Ahmad Chalabi (a.k.a. Ali Baba) had got the post of oil minister in the new Iraqi "government." The appointment is only "temporary" but you can rest assured he's not going to give up that sweet job easily. He's going to put all his cronies into all the important positions and I'm sure it'll come out much later on, mark my word, there will be a whole lot of Iraqi money missing when they finally pry him out of there. I'm just speechless. This guy should be in prison!!!

Hours after Bush's first press conference in a year, where he said "we're making good progress," in Iraq, 12 car bombs went off all over Iraq killing 50 people and wounding over a huundred, most of them Iraqi security forces.The bombings were accompanied by coordinated morter attacks and small arms battles. I was astounded to read in the New York Times "480 Iraqi policemen and troops have been killed by insurgents in the last two months." That's just terrible. How can the Iraqi "governemnt" possibly sustain that type of attrition and expect to survive? Oh, I forgot, we're there and appearantly are never leaving. [Go to Let's Talk About Democracy for links and full story.]

Yesterday I posted on Non Sum Dignus an inquiry into what went on in Fallujah during the marine assault in Novemeber of last year. I found a blog written by a marine who was there who said, in the lead up to the attack, they used something called White Phosphorous which the they refer to as "Willy Pete." Dahr Jamail had got me wondering what the U.S. was using over there as he had written an article claiming the military had used chemical weapons in Fallujah. He quotes a wiitness who in December 2004, "watched the military use bulldozers to push the soil into piles and load it onto trucks to carry away. This was done in the Julan and Jimouriya quarters of the city, which is of course where the heaviest fighting occurred during the siege, as this was where resistance was the fiercest. “At least two kilometers of soil were removed...” He explained that in certain areas where the military used “special munitions” 200 square meters of soil was being removed from each blast site. In addition, many of his friends have told him that the military brought in water tanker trucks to power blast the streets, although he hadn’t seen this himself. “They went around to every house and have shot the water tanks,” he continued, “As if they are trying to hide the evidence of chemical weapons in the water, but they only did this in some areas, such as Julan and in the souk (market) there as well.”

There are reports of deaths and buring injuries of civilians in Fallujah presumably caused by some sort of chemical weapon. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry describes exposure to white phosphorous.as causing "... burns and irritation, liver, kidney, heart, lung, or bone damage, and death. " It seems likily this might have been what they dropped on Fallujah. [Go to Non Sum Dignus for links.]

 

 

(April 23, 2005)

To start with, there are just a few issues of note this week:

On Tuesday the 19th at Let's Talk About Democracy I posted a story about the Senate Foreign Relations committee dalaying a vote on John Bolton to be the new U.N. ambassador until next month. There was just too many alligations of his "serial abuse" going around for even some republican senators. I also inlcuded a link to a Der Spiegel article which dealt with the many problematic nominations Bush has sent to congress so far.

Besides Bolton, Stephen L. Johnson the nominee to head the EPA is a real winner. Barbara Boxer and Bill Nelson of Florida ( Total bonehead.) had threatened to delay the vote if he didn't promise to eliminate a program called Cheers, for Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, which paid mainly poor Florida black families to take money to expose their children to pesticides. Democratic Sen. Thomas Carper threatened to put the nomination on "hold," on the 14th.

On the 20th I updated a story I've been watching closly on the Madain hostage taking in Iraq. It turns out about 70 bodies have appeared floating in the Tigris, which are presumed to be those of the hostages. Although, I read in the WaPo yesterday there was some question as to whether all the corpses were from this one incident or maybe some of them had been weighted down earlier on and were just coming up now that it was getting warmer. Now, isn't tha plesant. This is what is going on over there, but you usually don't get that sort of graphic description of it from the media here in the U.S.

Also, at Non Sum Dignus on the 20th , I had a big beef with NPR again. I posted a very stern letter I sent to All Things Considered, which even as we speak is probably being deleted. Linda Wertheimer did this sappy piece on Oklahoma senator Tom Coburn and his push to change senate ethics rules to allow him to keep practicing medicine. Seems those crazy ethics rules bar members making money on the side while they're supposed to be working for their constituents. How unfair!

Wertheimer's report was about 10 minutes long and it basically consisted of asking his patients and home town friends whether he should keep working or not. What never got mentioned was his little problem with sterilizing underage girls to keep them from having more babies. He actually sterilized one girl and never told her. So much for "parental consent," or patient consent for that matter. I should think if you're going to do a story on a doctor trying to keep praticing you might mention something about his record as a physitian.

Well, no one can ever accuse NPR of "liberal Bias" any more. (Or providing excellent journalism either, for that matter.) My God, they have reallly gone off the deep end. Now that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is run by a bunch of right wing idealogues, most NPR programming is so slanted to the crazy frige there realy isn't any point to listening these days. If I want that kind of crap I'll just go to FOX. Even Pacifica Radio is starting to sound mainstream in comparison!!!

On the 21st came the news that Iyad Allawi narrowly avoiding get himself assasinated on his way home. He has predicted back in Feburary the insurgeny would be ended within months. The new governemnt isn't even formed yet, two months later, but the insurgents are surging again. There have been more car bombings than anyone can count and a civilian helicopter was downed killing 11 including 6 American contrators. The same day, the senate approved $592 million to build a massive embassy in Baghdad and the next day they signed off on a billion more for the war. We're not getting out of there anytime soon. Never mind all the permanate bases we're building.

[On the 23rd the New York Times reported "Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee have urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to seek a formal invitation from the new Iraqi government for American troops to remain until domestic security forces are capable of fully defending their country." What a crock! Are these guys kidding?]

April 22nd was the 5th anniversary of the Baby (Jesus) Elian being taken away from his crazy family in Miami by the Feds. I wrote a pretty bitter tirade against the Cubans in Miami and the whole stupid deal. I'm not saying all Cubans are bad, but the those who were involved with the political pandering and the rioting and the blocking roads and all the other crap that went on during that entire embarrassing episode are trully despicable.

One good thing that did come out of the whole mess was the clipping of the Cuban American National Foundation's wings in Washington. Politians started running for the hills when they saw the polls on American's views of what was going on down there. The farm states are also a big counterweight to the Cuban lobby these days as well. There's too much money to be made selling food to Fidel!

One other thing; if you are into political satire "The President's Intern" is ome of the best I've seem in a while. I don't know who this person is, but they are brilliant!

So much for this week. It'll get better. Maybe.