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Lets's talk about democracy
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Wednesday, 6 April 2005
No wait! It's Texas.

Senator John Cornyn is trying to out-do Ton DeLay for biggest wacko idealogue in congress.

I thought the senate was suppossed to be where calmer heads prevailed.

The honorable senator said of our judicial branch:

"...it causes a lot of people, including me, great distress to see judges use the authority that they have been given to make raw political or ideological decisions. And no one, including those judges, including the judges on the United States Supreme Court, should be surprised if one of us stands up and objects.

And, Mr. President, I?m going to make clear that I object to some of the decision-making process that is occurring at the United States Supreme Court today and now. I believe that insofar as the Supreme Court has taken on this role as a policy-maker rather than an enforcer of political decisions made by elected representatives of the people, it has led to the increasing divisiveness and bitterness of our confirmation fights.

That is a very current problem that this body faces today. It has generated a lack of respect for judges generally. [Wonder where that comes from?]

I mean, why should people respect a judge for making a policy decision borne out of an ideological conviction any more than they would respect or deny themselves the opportunity to disagree if that decision were made by an elected representative?

Of course the difference is that they can throw the rascal ? the rascal out ? and we are sometimes perceived as the rascal ? if they don?t like the decisions that we make. But they can?t vote against a judge because judges aren?t elected. They serve for a lifetime on the federal bench.

And, indeed, I believe this increasing politicalization of the judicial decision-making process at the highest levels of our judiciary have bred a lack of respect for some of the people that wear the robe. And that is a national tragedy.

And finally, I don?t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that?s been on the news.

And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in violence. Certainly without any justification but a concern that I have that I wanted to share.

You know, it?s ironic, if you look back, as we all have, being students of history in this body, all of us have been elected to other ? to other bodies and other offices and we?re all familiar with the founding documents, the declaration of independence, the constitution itself, we?re familiar with the federalist papers that were written in an effort to get the constitution ratified in New York state. Well, Alexander

Hamilton, apropos of what I want to talk about here, authored a series of essays in the Federalist Papers that opined that the judicial branch would be what he called the ? quote ? ?least dangerous branch of government.? The ?least dangerous branch.?

He pointed out that the judiciary lacked the power of the executive branch, the white house, for example, and the federal government and the political passions of the legislature. In other words, the congress. Its sole purpose ? that is, the federal judiciary?s sole purpose was to objectively interpret and apply the laws of the land and in?"

Jackass!!!

Feel free to write Mr. Cornyn and let him know how you feel.

I did.

"Dear Senator Cornyn-

Your recent statements regarding the judicial branch of government are totally unacceptable. If you had an ounce of self respect or honor, you would resign, but you don't.

You are a crass opportunist playing a very dangerous game with our way of governemnt.

You say, "...I believe this increasing politicalization of the judicial decision-making process at the highest levels of our judiciary have bred a lack of respect for some of the people that wear the robe. And that is a national tragedy."

What is a national tragedy is republicans of your ilk who are politicizing the judicial decision-making process for your own ends. If people are having trouble respecting the robe, it it mainly because of you sir.

Shame on you.!"

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:01 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 April 2005 4:21 PM EDT
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The "Dumbshine State" wins!

No, I was right the first time; Florida is the stupidest state.

BBC:

"A law letting people in Florida kill in self-defence on the street without first trying to flee an attacker has been passed by Florida politicians.
Florida law already allows people to shoot a potential attacker in their home, place of work or car.

But until now, courts insisted that anyone confronted in a public place should first try to run away.

Critics of the law say it will bring a Wild West attitude to Florida - magnet to hundreds of thousands of tourists.

One critic said all the measure would do is sell more guns and turn the state into a modern version of the OK Corral.

The bill has been heavily backed by the National Rifle Association, the lobbying group which defends the rights of Americans to carry guns."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:31 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 5 April 2005
Guns and the Minutemen. (Not in the sexual context, right?)

I thought Florida was the stupidest state...

WaPo:

"Miami Suburb Sells Old Guns To Shop Favored by Criminals."

A place called Lou's Gun Shop and Police Supply in the suburban Miami town of Hialeah has a certain status among Florida gun dealers. According to the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation, Lou's sells more weapons that can be traced to crimes than any other gun dealer in the state.

So, where do you think the police chief in Sweetwater, another suburban Miami town, decided to unload his officers' old guns and a bunch of confiscated weapons?

That's right.

None other than Lou's.

Not surprisingly, some gun-control advocates are worried that the same guns the Sweetwater Police Department is passing along to Lou's will end up in the hands of the criminals that the Sweetwater police are trying to catch.

The heat of public criticism aggravated chief Robert Fulgueira at first. But now he says "I sleep real well at night," because his deal to trade in old police Glocks and confiscated weapons for new Glocks is saving the city thousands of dollars. Indeed, Fulgueira is feeling so good about his business acumen that he is scoffing at the police departments that melt down old weapons and dispose of them rather than doing a little wheeling and dealing with them.

"It costs to destroy, so it isn't free," he said. "Then they dump them in the ocean, and I think that is a bigger crime."

-- Manuel Roig-Franzia


...but Arizona is really giving the "Dumbshine State" a run for its money.


"PHOENIX - State senators voted Thursday to let Arizonans carry their firearms into bars and restaurants.

The approval on a 17-11 vote came after supporters of the legislation defeated two efforts to narrow its scope. One would have permitted firearms only if the owner posted the establishment as a gun-carrying zone; the other would have limited firearms only to restaurants.

But Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, said both proposals would infringe on individual constitutional rights.

Current law prohibits weapons anywhere alcohol is served. But Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said that really isn't the case.

"There are already guns in bars and restaurants now," he said. "But they're brought in by criminals."

Gould said the change is needed to "allow law-abiding citizens to protect themselves."

What you really want is a bunch of drunks armed to the teeth.

But it gets better...on to:

The Minutemen (Not like Mike Watt.)

Washington Feb 21, 2005 ? Intent on securing the vulnerable Arizona border from illegal immigrant crossings, U.S. officials are bracing for what they call a potential new threat this spring: the Minutemen.

Nearly 500 volunteers have already joined the Minuteman Project, anointing themselves civilian border patrol agents determined to stop the immigration flow that routinely, and easily, seeps past federal authorities.

They plan to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout April when the tide of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaks."

A group; called Border Action see these folks as vigilanties. They say these self appointed border guards are detaining and, in some cases, beating people coming over the border.

This has created some friction between us and the government of Mexico.

"...Mexican President Vicente Fox has condemned the self-described border patrol as "immigrant hunters," and said that his government has sent a diplomatic note to the US expressing concern."

One would think these gun totting types would be good Bush supporters, but they're way beyond that.

The "Arkansas Bushwhacker & The Parrott Mountain Bully Boys" explain Bush is a pussy and the Minutemen are NOT vigilanties:

"President Bush, it would seem, has taken matters into HIS own hands by CHOOSING to ignore, and to not enforce, this country's immigration laws.

He has, therefore, also failed to honor his Oath of Office. President Fox of Mexico has also openly encouraged his country's nationals to ignore and break U.S. immigration laws.

The illegal aliens are also ignoring the law and proper procedures to get what they want, and so are the employers who employ them, the "coyotes" who smuggle them, etc. So they are ALL taking matters into their own hands, ignoring legal procedures, and breaking the law to get what they want!

The "Minutemen", on the other hand, are set up to act as a "neighborhood watch" [They're really little old ladies with binocculars?] along the border, and are instructed to call the Border Patrol when they spot illegal entry taking place in violation of the law.

Therefore, THEY are ASSISTING the Border Patrol and lawfully aiding in the enforcement of our nation's laws.

Now if you see a criminal breaking the law, and you call the police, that certainly does not make you a "vigilante" by any stretch of the immagination - in fact, just the opposite! As we should all remember from our government and civics classes in grade school, THAT is called "being a good citizen."

So I ask you, WHO ARE THE REAL VIGILANTES HERE - THE "MINUTEMEN", OR PRESIDENTS BUSH AND FOX? Who is ignoring the law here, and who is trying to uphold it? Who comes closer to the definition of "vigilante"? I think it is pretty obvious."

The president's spokesman Scott McClellen had some trouble explaining that Bush is not a pussy, but doesn't beleive in vigilanttes either.:

"...people cannot take things into their own hands. But if they see suspicious activity, they should report that suspicious activity to the proper authorities and --

Q: And that doesn't make them vigilantes, does it?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, if you're talking about a group of armed, untrained individuals roaming around the desert, that would be something that would concern us and it would increase the chance that someone could get hurt.

And we don't want people operating outside the law --the President made that very clear last week. So if you're talking about people reporting suspicious activity, that's one thing.

If you're talking about people operating outside the law, that's another matter and it's one that cannot be allowed to happen."

Maybe the president is thinking he doesn't want to alienate aliens who pay lots of taxes and might get us out of our Social Security problems?

NY Times:

"While it has been evident for years that illegal immigrants pay a variety of taxes, the extent of their contributions to Social Security is striking: the money added up to about 10 percent of last year's surplus - the difference between what the system currently receives in payroll taxes and what it doles out in pension benefits.

Moreover, the money paid by illegal workers and their employers is factored into all the Social Security Administration's projections.

Illegal immigration, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, co-director of immigration studies at New York University, noted sardonically, could provide "the fastest way to shore up the long-term finances of Social Security."

Starting in the late 1980's, the Social Security Administration received a flood of W-2 earnings reports with incorrect - sometimes simply fictitious - Social Security numbers. It stashed them in what it calls the "earnings suspense file" in the hope that someday it would figure out whom they belonged to.

The file has been mushrooming ever since: $189 billion worth of wages ended up recorded in the suspense file over the 1990's, two and a half times the amount of the 1980's.

In the current decade, the file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year, generating $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security tax revenue and about $1.5 billion in Medicare taxes.

In 2002 alone, the last year with figures released by the Social Security Administration, nine million W-2's with incorrect Social Security numbers landed in the suspense file, accounting for $56 billion in earnings, or about 1.5 percent of total reported wages."

And remember, Walmart, America's store, loves illegals too. They're good cheap labor they can take advantage of.

Hear a debate between a "minuteman" spokesman and a representitive from Border Action at Democracy Now.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:36 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 April 2005 9:54 AM EDT
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Monday, 4 April 2005
With friends like these...John Bolton is a shoe-in.

The WaPo:

Former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, ex-CIA director R. James Woolsey and 64 other retired arms control specialists and diplomats are lined up in support of John R. Bolton, whose nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has stirred controversy.

In a letter being delivered today to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, other committee members and congressional leaders, they said the attack on Bolton is really an attack on President Bush's policies.

The counterattack, organized by Frank J. Gaffney , a Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, said Bolton "has distinguished himself throughout a long and multifaceted career."

And the best argument for his confirmation?

"... (The) critics of Bolton's positions on arms control treaties are "misdirected" because his views "are identical" to those of Bush..."

Well, that's good right? Because everyone knows W is really into securing those Russian loose nukes.

"The 9/11 Commission and leading nonproliferation experts say that the administration has been too lax in securing nuclear weapons and materials in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union..."

Ooopse.

Well, anyway, "Jesse Helms endorsed Bolton: "John Bolton is the kind of man with whom I would want to stand at Armageddon, if it should be my lot to be on hand for what is forecast to be the final battle between good and evil in this world."

Wow, Jesse Helms. Most people would agree, that's a mainstream endorsement. Most diplomats at the U.N. would be pretty inpressed by that.

Stupid diplomats! What do they know about Armageddon? What do they have to do with the U.N.?

59 of them have sent a letter to Richard Logar, too.

"He is the wrong man for this position," they said... ,

"We urge you to reject that nomination,"

Others who signed the letter include James F. Leonard, deputy ambassador to the U.N. in the Ford and Carter administrations; Princeton N. Lyman, ambassador to South Africa and Nigeria under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton; Monteagle Stearns, ambassador to Greece and Ivory Coast in the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations; and Spurgeon M. Keeny Jr., deputy director of the Arms Control Agency in the Carter administration.

Their criticism dwelled primarily on Bolton's stand on issues as the State Department's senior arms control official.

They said he had an "exceptional record" of opposing U.S. efforts to improve national security through arms control."

Whatever!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:58 AM EDT
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Saturday, 2 April 2005
The Pope is dead, no wait, he's alive, no wait, he's dead...

So the media goes from Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to the Pope's feeding tube, just like that.

Shouldn't W and Tom DeLay be making sure John Paul II is getting all the help he needs to live forever?

After all, I just saw a headline that said he was half responsible for the fall of communism.

"We know what the pope has achieved. Fifty percent of the collapse of communism is his doing,"
(Lech) Walesa told The Associated Press on Friday. "More than one year after he spoke these words, we were able to organize 10 million people for strikes, protests and negotiations.

[Naturally, the other half was Reagan.]

"Earlier we tried, I tried, and we couldn't do it. These are facts. Of course, communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way. He was a gift from the heavens to us."

{Funny, a few weeks ago when George Kennan died, they said it was he who foresaw the inevitable fall of communism based on their messed up system.)

Too bad he lost his MOJO these past few years and people in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan had to do it all by themselves.

He wasn't too hot on liberating people from right- wing regimes it seems. In the eighties, many catholics sought out his help in ending brutal central American death squads, but he was no where to be found.

Jesuits and arch-bishops and nuns were slaughtered in El Salvidor, but it seems John Paul was too busy trying to review Galileo's's heresies. (From 1630.)

You know, that whole earth revolving around the sun controversy.

The Catholics have an answer and are firmly in control of reality.

"...Satan carries on his plans for disorder in the world to bring down the Church and destroy souls. A false science, condemned by Vatican I Council, continues to deceive many Catholics who strive to reconcile this false science with the truths of Faith.

Unfortunately, they are aided and abetted by apostate theologians. But such an unnatural yoking of truth with error cannot hold for long, and Our Lady has promised that at the last, Her Immaculate Heart will triumph. The truth of God, Her Spouse the Holy Spirit, and Her unparalleled Purity are really the same."

Amen to that, crazy person. Bring on the middle ages again, I'm ready.

GALILEO'S HERESY

by Paula Haigh
"Now that the traditional teaching of the Church about Creation and a literal reading of Genesis is being vindicated with the downfall of Darwinism, so also the traditional teaching about the structure of the universe is being admitted in various ways, and Catholics should know about it.

The first of these is included in the extensive scientific work of the French Catholic scholar, Fernand Crombette (d.1970). His works have not yet been translated but some of them have been expounded in English, and all may be obtained from the Cercle Scientifique et Historique[CESHE].(1)

"The Bible does not make mistakes" was the watchword of this gifted Catholic scientist.(2) Secondly, there is the first-rate paper by Solange Hertz (3) entitled Recanting Galileo." [Crazy Galileo!]

Paula goes on to assure us:

"Lastly, there has recently appeared The Earth is Not Moving by Marshall Hall(7). His is a quintessentially popular treatment of this difficult subject, and he must be given much credit for bringing the arcana of modern mathematical physics down to the level of us scientifically illiterate mortals. Whatever may be the shortcomings of Hall's book, it is impossible not to enjoy his literary panache."

In order to prove to the disbelieving dolts that the earth isn't moving, one would need to have some panache.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:19 AM EST
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Friday, 1 April 2005
Iranian exiles just want freedom! (Even if they are terrorists.)

Wasn't I just writing about Iranian "exiles" and up pops a story about the "National Council of Resistance of Iran" (NCRI) telling the U.S. the Iranian government spent "$2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads last year.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exile group that wants to oust Iran's clerical rulers, said Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had told the defense minister to take steps to obtain nuclear warheads.

"In mid-2004, Khamenei allocated $2.5 billion to obtain three nuclear warheads," Mohammad Mohaddessin of the NCRI told a news conference in Paris."

The problen with the NCRI is that it is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

wikipedia says the NCRI is associated with

"...The Mojahedin-e-Khalq...(which) is also known as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Mujahideen al-Khalq, the Mujahideen al-Khalq Organization (MKO), or The People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI).

Its armed wing is called the National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA). The organization, which was founded in 1965, is today a violent guerrilla group that opposes the Islamic Iranian government.

The MKO has been officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States and is proscribed in the European Union, though the movement claims to be a "patriotic, Muslim and democratic organization".

The MKO began life as one of the most radical factions opposed to the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and during the 1970s carried out violent attacks against that regime. Some also blame the group for attacks on American interests and the murder of Americans during that time."

Shaking hands with Saddam:

But hey, we did buisness with Osama Bin Laden and Saddam, so how bad can these guys be? Plus, whoever is against the Mullahs is a friend of ours. [Iraq's determination to gas the Iranians into the stone age provided positive atmospherics to U.S./Iraq talks.]

:
At one time Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism but that all went away too...

"A State Department background paper dated November 16, 1984 said that Iraq had stopped using chemical weapons after a November 1983 demarche from the U.S., but had resumed their use in February 1984.

On November 26, 1984, Iraq and the U.S. restored diplomatic relations.

Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in Washington for the formal resumption of ties, met with Secretary of State George Shultz.

When their discussion turned to the Iran-Iraq war, Aziz said that his country was satisfied that "the U.S. analysis of the war's threat to regional stability is 'in agreement in principle' with Iraq's."

What the hell ever happened to Tariq Aziz anyway?

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:23 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2005 12:40 AM EST
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Thursday, 31 March 2005
They're all dead, Bush was just wrong.

"The commission on the intelligence capabilities of the United States regarding weapons of mass destruction" released it final report today. W was right there chumming it up with the members, which includes Chuck Robb one of our dumber former senators.

Turns out the intelligence community was "dead wrong" on Iraq's WMD. We need yet another commission to tell us that??

Of course, W is right there because it blames the CIA and not his band of neocon wackos at the Office of Special Plans, where intelligence was manufactured and apostates who questioned the reliability of Ahmad Chalabi and his buddies like "curveball" were ignored.

The NY Times writes:

"The false assumptions about Iraq's arsenal were not the result of deliberate distortion, nor were they influenced by pressure from outside the agencies, the Silberman-Robb commission said. [This is why Bush likes this report.]

Rather, it said, they came about because the intelligence bureaucracy collected far too little information, "and much of what they did collect was either worthless or misleading." [See Office of Special Plans.]

[In 1995 the IAEA and the Iraq weapons inspectors interviewed Hussein Kemal, Saddam's son in law and in charge of the Iraqi WMD program. He basically told them all Saddam's weapon has been destroyed shortly after the Gulf War. But this piece of crucial intelligence was totally ignored.]

The WaPo writes further:

"...the report notes, before the speech by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to the United Nations Security Council in February 2003, the CIA failed to provide information "casting serious doubt on the reliability" of intelligence about Iraq's alleged mobile biological facilities initially obtained from an Iraqi defector. [Curveball.]

The analysts who helped prepare Powell's speech were unaware that, as the commission's report puts it, the defector was "lying" and that he was the single source for that information, which became a central feature of Powell's" presentation.

He must have had some clue because the Guardian reported in June 2003:

"Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, was so disturbed about questionable American intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that he assembled a secret team to review the information he was given before he made a crucial speech to the UN security council on February 5 (2003).

At one point, he became so angry at the lack of adequate sourcing to intelligence claims that he declared: "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."

Well, he did anyway.

The WaPO report goes on to say:

"The panel also criticized the daily intelligence reports that Bush received before the Iraqi war -- known as the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) -- for being "more alarmist and less nuanced" in headlines and contents than longer studies, such as the National Intelligence Estimates.

It said the reports never cast doubt on prior information provided to Bush on Iraqi weapons programs when such doubts turned up and thus "seemed to be 'selling' intelligence in order to keep its customers, or at least the First Customer, interested."

The PDB, it concluded was "disastrously one-sided."

This all happened in a vacuum of course. W (The first customer) didn't know anything.

Real men are going to Tehran.

Not that we're going to learn anything from this commission. Cheney and Co. are gearing up for war in Iran. Michael Ledeen, of Iran/Contra fame, is pushing for "regime change" in Tehran and the Shah's son, Reza Pahlavi, is waiting in the wings.

The Iran press service reports:

"(Ledeen) wrote recently that Mr Pahlavi was the suitable leader for the peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy, describing him as "widely admired inside Iran, despite his refreshing lack of avidity for power or wealth".

In Congress, the monarchists have also found an audience. Draft legislation sponsored by Sam Brownback, Republican senator for Kansas, would channel tens of millions of dollars to royalist television and radio stations that beam calls for insurrection from Los Angeles to audiences in Iran.

Mr Pahlavi, who has advocated a referendum in Iran on the return of the monarchy and says he is committed to democracy, arouses mixed passions in his homeland as well as among the exiled community concentrated in California.

Analysts say supporters of Reza Pahlavi, the Virginia-based son of the last Shah of Iran, see a role model in Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress who is backed by powerful figures in the Pentagon as a future leader in Baghdad committed to a secular, pro-western democracy."

The Christian Science Monitor says all this war talk from Washington has the Iranians getting ready for war.

"In preparation for any strike on its budding nuclear facilities, Iran is making clear that the price will be high - burnishing its military forces, boosting its missile program, and warning of a painful response against US and Israeli targets in the region.

"They see a fight coming, regardless of what they do, so they are getting ready for it," says a European diplomat in Tehran, referring to ideologues who think a US invasion is a "very real prospect."
Analysts say any military action by the US could boost unpopular conservatives.

"Iranians are very patriotic, and though there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the regime, they oppose an attack," says Nasser Hadian-Jazy, a political scientist at Tehran University with close ties to the Khatami government. "It would be like Sept. 11 in the US, which brought the neocons into power. A US attack could bring our neocons into power."

(Expect to see Iranian "exiles" protesting in front of the White House before shock and awe 2005 begins.)

Does Iran have any reason to be paranoid?

I mean, W said the idea of us attacking was "simply ridiculous." Oh yeah, then he said all options were on the table. I think he must have been talking to Ariel Sharon because. the Sunday Times of London for March 13, 2005 wrote:

"Israeli troops are training for an assault on Iran's nuclear facilities...

For the past few months, elite Israeli commandos have been training for an assault on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The news that Israel is planning unilateral action to end what it considers an imminent Iranian nuclear threat comes as American and European diplomats are announcing new initiatives for negotiation with Tehran.

Although publicly committed to the diplomatic effort, Israeli officials say the "point of no return" will come later this year when they calculate Iran will be in a position to start processing uranium. They say Ariel Sharon's inner cabinet has decided to act alone if the impasse has not been broken.

"If all efforts to persuade Iran to drop its plans to produce nuclear weapons should fail, the US administration will authorize Israel to attack," said one Israeli security source.

Israeli special forces have been operating a listening post close to the Iranian border in Iraqi Kurdistan.

It is also said to have deployed intelligence-gathering [Or nuclear armed] submarines in the Gulf and sent special forces on spying missions. The Israeli Ofek-6 spy satellite - previously used to monitor Saddam Hussein's Iraq -has also been moved to an Iranian orbit.

Unlike Osirak, the Israelis are said this time to be co-ordinating with American forces. They have no choice. Any air-launched attack on Iran would send Israeli warplanes over Turkey and close to Iraqi airspace, currently controlled by the Pentagon. Both Washington and Jerusalem know that whoever carries out any attack, the world will see it as a joint conspiracy.

Israel may be trying to put pressure on Bush amid concerns that the US is going "soft" on Iran in the interests of transatlantic harmony. Some analysts believe that if Washington concludes an Israeli attack is inevitable, US forces will be obliged to act in the hope of saving the Middle East peace process."

So even if our intelligence sucks and we aren't bamboozled into another war, Israel will make it unavoidable.

Just wait until the American people are forced into another war to protect Israel!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 7:20 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:54 PM EST
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Wednesday, 30 March 2005
Lula? Lula said what?

I thought today's State Dept. briefing with deputy spokesperson Adam Ereli was amusing:

Regarding a question on Venezuela:

QUESTION: Okay. In his speech yesterday in Venezuela, President Lula (Of Brazil) openly criticized what he called the U.S. defamation and insinuation against President Chavez. He also said that, "Venezuela has the right to be a sovereign country." Do you have comments on this?

MR. ERELI: These are comments by President Lula?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: Of Brazil?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. ERELI: I didn't see those comments or his speech so I really don't want to respond to the question in that way. What I would tell you is that the issue for the United States is actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy, human rights and freedom that I think are the -- they are the commonly held values most nations in the hemisphere, number one.

And number two, the importance of taking concrete actions and serious actions to fight narcoterrorism, to fight terrorists, to contribute positively to regional security -- those are areas in which Venezuelan actions cause us concern. Those are areas in which we would encourage action that can allay the concerns of us and other members of the region who look on practices in Venezuela and say these are contrary to norms and standards that we all -- the rest of us -- adhere to.

QUESTION: A follow-up on this?

MR. ERELI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Doesn't it concern the U.S. that Brazil, which is the biggest neighbor in the region, doesn't see Venezuela in the same way as the U.S. does?

MR. ERELI: I don't know if I would accept that characterization as accurate. I think that the United States and Brazil and the other countries in the region have common aspirations for the region in terms of political development, economic development and leadership in solving regional problems, and that that's what we are looking to -- it is those tendencies that we are looking to strengthen in our engagement with hemispheric partners.
Sir.

QUESTION: Could you be more specific about Venezuelan shortcomings with respect to the counter narcotics issue?

MR. ERELI: Not really. I'll look and see what we've said on the past, but off the top of my head I can't give you a detailed answer."

Perhaps the reason Adam can't be more specific is because there is no connection to narco terrorism in Venezuela. If anything the Chavez government has the been the constant victim of U.S. interference.

And didn't the Colombians violate Venezuelan sovereignty by kidnapping one of their rebels on Venezuelan soil?

The Boston Globe reported:

"Colombian authorities battling rebels in a four-decades-old war say they seized Rodrigo Granda, the foreign relations chief of the FA RC rebel group, in Colombia on Dec. 13.

But a Venezuelan inquiry indicates he was illegally abducted from the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, apparently by Colombian agents helped by rogue Venezuelan colleagues.

Chavez has stayed silent, but if the kidnap were confirmed it could strain relations with Colombia, which have been soured in the past by disputes over security.

It also would lead to pressure from the president's leftist supporters for him to deal with this interference in Venezuela's affairs from a strong US ally."

Hugo Chavez eventually smoothed things over with Columbia, who actually has been friendlier with Chavez these days.

Principles of democracy?

Ereli said "actions that Venezuela takes, policies that Venezuela follows, that are contrary to the principles of democracy," which is interesting since it was U.S. supported NGOs who engineered a coup against Chavez in 2002. That's not very democratic.

The State Department's's inspector general found the U.S. had an involvement in the coup through the work of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

According to the CATO Institute:

(The)"NED which also has a history of corruption and financial mismanagement, is superfluous at best and often destructive. Through the endowment, the American taxpayer has paid for special-interest groups to harass the duly elected governments of friendly countries, interfere in foreign elections, and foster the corruption of democratic movements."

The U.S. acted as if they knew nothing about the coup but:

" CIA Senior Intelligence Brief dated April 6, 2002 ( MORI DocID:1136214), reads, in pertinent part: ?Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month?

To provoke military action, plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month or ongoing strikes at the state-owned oil company PDVSA."

On April 21, 2002 the Observer reported:

"...officials at the Organization of American States and other diplomatic sources, talking to The Observer, assert that the US administration was not only aware the coup was about to take place, but had sanctioned it, presuming it to be destined for success."

Imagine that. The U.S. would never try to overthrow a government in Latin America, would it?

The fact that the country provides the world's 5th largest supply of oil can't have anything to do with the Bush administration's dislike of the Chavez government.

Last year the NED tried again through "referendum" to recall Chavez. That sort of nonsense may fly in California but not in Venezuela.

The results showed overwhelming support for Hugo Chavez.

MSNBC: Aug. 16, 2004

"With 94 percent of the votes counted, Chavez had 58 percent of the vote and the opposition 42 percent, Francisco Carrasquero, president of the National Elections Council, said ahead of the news from the monitoring team.

The victory stunned opposition figures who have fought for years to oust Chavez and will likely give him an even broader mandate for his ?revolution for the poor.?

Chavez is seen as a hero by Venezuela?s majority poor but as an authoritarian by his critics, particularly among the wealthy.

Though the opposition swiftly rejected the results, saying they were fraudulent, (Former president Jimmy)Carter and the head of the Organization of American States, who led observer teams, said the voting appeared clean.

Carter said the partial results announced Monday morning by election officials showing a wide margin of victory for Chavez ?coincided? with his own team?s findings.

?Now it?s the responsibility of all Venezuelans to accept the results and work together for the future,? he said. [Isn't that what the republicans told the democrats after the 2000 election?]

100.000 AK-47s! The hemosphere is in danger!!!!!

Nowadays the U.S. is all about Venezuela buying 100,000 ask-47s from Russia.

The WaPo reported on Feb. 11th:

"The U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said this week that the 100,000 Russian automatic rifles being purchased exceeded the number of Venezuela's regular armed forces. [So there is one gun for every soldier we have and that's it?]

"This is a sovereign action by Venezuela which President Chavez's government is not willing to discuss," Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said in a statement.

In his statement, Rangel described the U.S. reaction as "another impertinence from Mr. Bush's government. One has to ask whether the U.S. concern might not stem from the fact that this equipment is being bought in Russia and not in the United States."

Hmmm...good point.

Adam Ereli said:

... (the)weaponry could have a "destabilizing effect" on the hemisphere. [Wow, 100,000 thats alot.] He added that the United States has raised the issue with Russia on a number of occasions.

Asked about the US statement, Russian foreign minister Sergey) Lavrov said that the weapons deal was in line with international law.

"There is nothing to comment about," Lavrov told reporters. "This is part of bilateral ties between Russia and Venezuela, and it doesn't contradict any international norms or international obligations of Russia and Venezuela."

The Interfax news agency last Friday also quoted an unidentified Russian diplomat who said that Moscow was surprised to hear the US complaints against the deal which he described as "biased and unfounded."

And then Rummy chimed in on March 24, 2005

"Rumsfeld, during a four-day trip to Latin America, raised concerns about the reports of Venezuela's rifle purchases Wednesday.

"I can't imagine what's going to happen to 100,000 AK-47s," Rumsfeld said at a news conference in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, which shares a border with Venezuela.

"I can't understand why Venezuela needs 100,000 AK-47s. I personally hope it doesn't happen. I can't imagine, if it did happen, it would be good for the hemisphere," the defense secretary said.

Rumsfeld appeared with Brazil's vice president and defense minister, Jose Alencar, who declined to offer similar criticism of Chavez. Alencar would only say that Brazil respects the right of self-determination of other countries." [Imagine another country lecturing us on another country's right of self determination!]

And now Spain is going to sell them stuff!!!!!

The BBC says:

"(The) Spanish government plans to sell military equipment to Venezuela...

...The deal (involves) ships and transport planes worth 1.3bn euros ($1.7bn; #1bn."

ARRRGH! the hemosphere!!!!

Gasp! Well, as long as they keep the oil coming...

[Note: Chavez is rolling in oil money. (Oil was at $56 a barrel today. I paid $2.16 yesterday ofr a gallon.] He's subsidizing Castro's economy and spending freely on his pet social programs. Venezuelans are paying a dollar for gas, and interestingly enough, the Iraqis are paying 5 cents a gallon, when they can get it. We're, U.S. tax payers, making sure Iraqi gas stays cheap.]

Posted by bushmeister0 at 10:09 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 31 March 2005 9:48 PM EST
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Tuesday, 29 March 2005
An "Arabian Spring" has sprung.

Reuters:

"In a speech in the White House Rose Garden, (president) Bush spoke optimistically about the future of Iraq and said it would serve as an example of freedom in "a long-troubled part of the world."

"The trend is clear, freedom is on the march," Bush said.

Bush has been touting signs of an "Arabian Spring" of advancing democracy in the Middle East early in his second term, citing elections in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories, peaceful demonstrations against Syria in Lebanon and what he called steps toward democratic reform in Egypt and Saudi Arabia." {Oh yeah, you bet. The democracy is marching in Saudi Arabia all right. Just change Wahhabi to Jeffersonian.]

Meanwhile back in Iraq:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament erupted in acrimony at only its second sitting on Tuesday and journalists were thrown out after lawmakers berated leaders for failing to agree on a new government, two months after historic elections.

As the meeting grew heated, the interim speaker ordered journalists to leave and Iraqi television abruptly switched to Arab music. Allawi walked out of the session shortly afterwords.

"You can say we are in a crisis," Barham Salih, a leading Kurdish politician, told reporters.

Some explosions were heard in Baghdad on Tuesday, where officials had warned residents to prepare for stepped up insurgent attacks.

It was unclear if they caused any damage. During the first National Assembly meeting, on March 16, militants lobbed mortar rounds at the heavily fortified Green Zone in the city's center, where lawmakers held their meeting.

Violence also continued in the rest of the country, with a car bombing in the northern city of Kirkuk that killed one person and injured more than a dozen others, police said.

Three Romanian journalists were kidnapped Monday near their hotel, their employers said. They were identified as reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, 32, and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, 30, of Bucharest-based television station Prima TV, and Romania Libera newspaper reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, 37.

The three disappeared shortly after an interview with Allawi, said Petre Mihai Bacanu, managing editor of Romania Libera."

Condi pushing for Iraqi bugout?
So everything is going swimmingly. What did Ayad Allawi say right after the elections? The insurgency only had a few months to survive? The race is on to see whether the insurgency ends before a government is formed.

Since it's all roses and puppies, maybe its time to leave. Robert Novack, of all people, thinks he knows what's up in the White House. Seems Condi is no noecon...

"Determination (is) high in the Bush administration to begin irreversible withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq this year is reinforced by the presence at the State Department of the most dominant secretary since Henry Kissinger three decades ago.

Condoleezza Rice is expected to support administration officials who want to leave even if what is left behind does not constitute perfection.

Bush administration sources that the escape from Iraq should begin once a permanent government is in place in Baghdad.

The most obvious change is the improved situation on the ground in Iraq, where it is no longer preposterous to imagine local security forces in control.

...withdrawal from Iraq short of an absolute military victory seems more feasible today than it did last September..."

Speaking of Condi, the Dept. of Stae came out with their Human Rights Report today, slightly late. We sure know how to dish it out, but we can't take it. Nothing about Gitmo, Afghanistan, or Iraq and gross violations of human rights and international law.

Condi is quoted as saying "in all that lies ahead, our nation will continue to clarify for other nations the moral choice between oppression and freedom, and we will make it clear that ultimately success in our relations depends on the treatment of their own people." But we can treat them however we want.

The Guardian recently reported on the horrible situation in Afghanistan regarding our utter lack of respect for any law at all. Not only do we "render people from our prisons around the world to other countries for torture, but we also going into sovereign countries and take people.

"Although the true extent of the US extra-legal network is only now becoming apparent, people began to disappear as early as 2001 when the US asked its allies in Europe and the Middle East to examine their refugee communities in search of possible terror cells...

Among the first to vanish was Ahmed Agiza, an Egyptian asylum seeker who had been living in Sweden with his wife and children for three years. Hanan, Agiza's wife, told us how on December 18 2001 her husband failed to return home from his language class.

"The phone rang at 5pm. It was Ahmed. He said he'd been arrested and then the line went dead. The next day our lawyer told me that Ahmed was being sent back to Egypt. It would be better if he was dead." Agiza and his family had fled Egypt in 1991, after years of persecution, and in absentia he had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court. Hanan said..."

It just goes on and on. Who is responsible for all this? Rummy?

Rummy getting sued again.

Human Rights First has brought suit against Rummy's pentagon torture policies. A press release says:

?Secretary Rumsfeld bears direct and ultimate responsibility for this descent into horror by personally authorizing unlawful interrogation techniques and by abdicating his legal duty to stop torture,? said Lucas Guttentag, lead counsel in the lawsuit and director of the ACLU?s Immigrants? Rights Project.

?He gives lip service to being responsible but has not been held accountable for his actions. This lawsuit puts the blame where it belongs, on the Secretary of Defense.?

Hmmm. This got me wondering. If you read most articles about new revelations coming out because of various organizations asking for documents through the Freedom of Information Act, you keep seeing the same thing.

Rummy is always right a the center of things. For instance...

In a story in the WaPo on "ghost detainees" the aforementioned memo on the FBI complaining to the DoD about their treatment of prisoners revealed the FBI had concerns that...

"...military interrogators at the island prison were using coercive interrogation methods that could compromise any evidence of terrorist activities they obtained.

FBI agents and officials had complained about the shackling of detainees to the floor for periods exceeding 24 hours, without food and water; the draping of a detainee in an Israeli flag; and the use of growling dogs to scare detainees.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, who as White House counsel participated in detailed discussions about the legality of aggressive military interrogation techniques, has twice publicly expressed skepticism about the reliability of these FBI accounts. [Isn't he the boss of the Justice Dept?]

But the May 10, 2004, memo, written by an official whose name has not been disclosed, contains a highly detailed account of the efforts that FBI agents made to convince the Defense Department that its interrogation practices were wrongheaded.

They met, for example, with Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who took over the prison in October 2002, and another Army general to "explain our position (Law Enforcement techniques) vs. DOD," the author wrote in a previously disclosed portion of the memo.

"Both agreed the Bureau has their way of doing business and DOD has their marching orders from" Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld."

In another article regarding the heavy redactions of a FBI memo:

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top Army officer in Iraq at the time, told the Senate Armed Services Committee last spring that there was no system of keeping such detainees at Abu Ghraib, but he later acknowledged two cases in which it had happened, including that of one detainee who died in custody and another who was kept without registration at the behest of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld."

How is it that all this was going on and Rummy knew nothing? Never mind he wrote in the margins of a memo laying out various torture methods that he stood up for 8 hours a day what was all this about only making prisoners only stand for four hours... but good gosh golly things have changed since 9-11!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:58 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 March 2005 6:05 PM EST
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Monday, 28 March 2005
Schiavo case winds down. "Medical Terrorism" to end.

Hopefully, Terri Schiavo and her family and the rest of us will soon be able to have some relief from the media circus that has been going on over this tragic episode.

Reports today say some diehards are still at it trying to deliver water to the brain damaged woman even as the family asks them to go away.

"PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Terri Schiavo was given last rites and Easter communion — a drop of wine, but no bread — as protesters hoping to get the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted pledged to take their fight to the president.

Extra police officers blocked the road in front of Schiavo's hospice. Pinellas County school officials said the elementary school next to the hospice would not open Monday. The 600 students were to be sent elsewhere.

"We are Terri's voice. Right now, Terri is fighting for her life," the Rev. Patrick Mahoney angrily shouted Sunday, his face reddening. He pledged to protest outside the White House on Monday."

Yeah, yeah, Mr. Mahoney. I know your sister and she thinks you're way over the top. It's cold and rainy today in D.C., so enjoy it. W is probably still on vacation anyway and he wants to get as far away from this fiasco as possiblle, so what's the point?

Of course, for once in his presidency Bush rushed back to D.C. to sign the Schiavo emergancy bill. He's all about defending life.

That's why it took him 5 days to even mention the Redlake shootings. After all, they're just crazy drunk injuns, right?

No tsunami or memos titled "Bin Laden determined to attck in U.S." could get W to cut vacation short, but when it comes to pandering to a small minority of lunitics, he's right there.

I hear alot of these religeous nut-jobs don't believe in polls and the national media downplayed the lopsided results on this issue: they had to convince their viewers there was a controversy to justify all the feverish breathless reporting going on and on, but let's review.

Survey says!

CBS:

"An overwhelming 82 percent of the public believes the Congress and President should stay out of the matter. There is widespread cynicism about Congress' motives for getting involved: 74 percent say Congress intervened to advance a political agenda, not because they cared what happened to Terri Schiavo.

Public approval of Congress has suffered as a result; at 34 percent, it is the lowest it has been since 1997, dropping from 41 percent last month. Now at 43 percent, President Bush’s approval rating is also lower than it was a month ago."

ABC: (Which they didn't report in thier news coverage on T.V.)

"March 21, 2005 -- Americans broadly and strongly disapprove of federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case, with sizable majorities saying Congress is overstepping its bounds for political gain.

That legislative action is distinctly unpopular: Not only do 60 percent oppose it, more — 70 percent — call it inappropriate for Congress to get involved in this way.

And by a lopsided 67 percent-19 percent, most think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved."

And 68% of those identifying themselves as born-again evangelical christians strongly disapproved of the president and congress interfering in this matter.

Right now, there are alot of pissed of moderate republicans in congress. Christopher Shays (R. Conn.) said, "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy." Amen to that.

The democrats in the senate and in the house should be ashamed of themselves. What a bunch of spineless wimps!

But Ton DeLay is no wimp. I hope the 47 democrats that voted for the bill are proud of thier very moral bedfellow.

Here's what DeLay had to say on the subject of Terri Schiavo at a Family Research Council meeting, first revealed by :Americans United for the Separation of Church and State:

"This is exactly the issue that’s going on in America. That attacks against the conservative movement, against me, [It's all about him!] and against many others. The point is, it’s, the other side has figured out how to win and defeat the conservative movement. [If only that were true!]

And that is to go after people, personally charge them with frivolous charges, and link that up with all these do-gooder organizations funded by George Soros, and then, and then get the national media on their side.

That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only and that’s to destroy the conservative movement."

[Transcript of full rant.]

Perhaps Mr. DeLay should heed his older and wiser colleague in the Senate,

"Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the sole Republican to oppose the Schiavo bill in a voice vote in the Senate, said:

"This senator has learned from many years you've got to separate your own emotions from the duty to support the Constitution of this country. These are fundamental principles of federalism."

"It looks as if it's a wholly Republican exercise," Mr. Warner said, "but in the ranks of the Republican Party, there is not a unanimous view that Congress should be taking this step."

Perhaps DeLay let his emotions get the better of him because he had a similar experience to the Schiavos and Schindlers back in 1988 involving his father:

LA Times:

"...DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo's husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls "an act of barbarism" in removing the tube.

In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.

When his father's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes." His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do not resuscitate."

One thing you can say about Tom DeLay, as a hypocrite, he's consistant.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 9:57 AM EST
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