Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 2h 12m 38s|
Funny how this song means more to me now, than it did when I heard it first in
1982 as an 8th grader at Barbre Middle School in Kenner, Louisiana.
Mr. Crowley, what went on in your head
(Oh) Mr. Crowley, did you talk to the dead
Your lifestyle to me seemed so tragic
With the thrill of it all
You fooled all the people with magic
(Yea)You waited on Satan's call
Mr. Charming, did you think you were pure
Mr. Alarming, in nocturnal rapport
Uncovering things that were sacred, manifest on this earth
(Ah)Conceived in the eye of a secret
Yeah, they scattered the afterbirth
Mr. Crowley, won't you ride my white horse?
Mr. Crowley, it's symbolic of course
Approaching a time that is classic
I hear that maidens call
Approaching a time that is drastic
Standing with their backs to the wall
Was it polemically sent
I wanna know what you meant
I wanna know
I wanna know what you meant, yeah!
|Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 1h 32m 21s|
Lest we forget
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, yesterday:
“Pace said only one Iraqi army battalion is capable of fighting without U.S.
help. That is the same number as in September, when U.S. commanders disclosed
that the number of such highly trained battalions had dropped from three to
one, prompting criticism from lawmakers.” [AP, 2/7/06]
For those of you who don't know, that "one battalion" consists of 800 men.
Yep, after nearly 3 years of Operation Iraqi freedom, the US military effort
can only convince 800 Iraqi's to willingly support them.
|Thursday, 9 February 2006 at 0h 53m 29s|
Heartless, thoughtless bastards
By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent [SOURCE]
WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget calls for elimination of a $255 lump-
sum death payment that has been part of Social Security for more than 50
years and urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17-
year-old high school dropouts.
If approved, the two proposals would save a combined $3.4 billion over the next
decade, according to administration estimates....
[T]he benefit is paid in cases in which a surviving spouse was living with the
deceased at the time of his or her death. It is also available in some cases
for a surviving spouse who lived apart and for some surviving children.
Administration officials said the payment began as a burial benefit in 1939, to
assist families with funeral expenses. The amount was set at $255 in 1952 and
until 1981, the payment was made directly to funeral homes, they said.
The second change Bush proposed would terminate monthly survivor benefits for
16- and 17-year-olds who do not attend school full time. Current law requires
18-year-olds to remain in school to receive their benefits. Survivor benefits
are paid in cases in which a parent has died.
|Wednesday, 8 February 2006 at 3h 22m 50s|
It's the constitution stupid
except when winning elections are more important than patriotism.
Howie Kurtz manages to put the NSA eavesdropping fiasco in perspective. Go here
The article essentially glosses over all of the items thrown about in the
news. I don't usually like Howie, because he has been wishy-washy in the past,
and he often chooses the facts to make the point, instead of using all of the
facts to figure out the point. Ignoring poignant facts makes me wonder if the
author who does so consistently is really a shill of sorts, as if he is quite
mindfull of which side his bread is buttered.
But Howie gets why the news-fo-tainment industry can't provide anything but a
slanted, inaccurate perspective of all remotely "political" events. Consider
this snippet, which comments on how the news networks covered Senate Judiciary
hearings with Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez yesterday:
The cable nets all made a great show of 'covering' the Senate Judiciary hearing
by carrying the AG's opening statement, then maybe a question or two from Arlen
Specter. Then they trotted out their legal analysts to talk about the meaning
of the hearing, which by then must have been eight or nine minutes old. The
hearing became video wallpaper as the cable talkers talked. They never even got
to Pat Leahy, the panel's top Democrat, meaning that only Republican voices
were heard. Gonzales essentially got a free ride.
Then everyone moved on to other subjects. MSNBC went back to the hearing for a
couple of minutes but thought better of it. We had CNN looking at Fall Fashion
Week, Fox ginning up a debate on Ken Mehlman calling Hillary angry, and MS
doing a 'Massachusetts Murder Mystery.'
Now I'm not saying the Gonzales session should have been covered wall to wall
(though fortunately it was on C-SPAN). America probably got sick of the
preening politicians during the Roberts and Alito hearings. And the cable nets
did deal with other serious issues. But they couldn't even be bothered with
dipping in and out of the first attempt on Capitol Hill to hold the
administration accountable for its domestic spying program. Instead, we had the
appearance of coverage, and even that didn't last long.
It's important to understand the seriousness of what happened yesterday. The
Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez, obfuscated every
direct question. He could not answer a simple yes or no to the question
posed by Senator Leahy: does the United States eavesdrop on American citizens?
answer that with certainty" , "It is my belief that that is not our policy", "I
believe that our activities are consistent with the Constitution", and anything
else but the one of two words that would have answered the question : yes or no.
Lets not forget that the hearings began with a vote on partisan lines not to
Gonzalez under oath. [see it here] Senator
Feingold called for a voice vote, and some of the Republicans uttered "no"
looking down at the table, as if ashamed.
|Tuesday, 7 February 2006 at 4h 49m 16s|
He who gives a little liberty for safety, will get neither of both
Okay, you say. I'm a good citizen. I'm not ashamed of
nothing to hide.
But consider the idea at stake. Do we have to have every conversation --
digital or audible -- monitored in order to be safe? Keep in mind that already
the entire network of telecommunications within -- and exterior to some extent -
- the United States in gathered at the NSA. I repeat. They are already
gathering the data. Accessing that data however, or tapping into the
instantaneous moment of the network, needs a warrant. If an emergency arises,
the executive branch has 72 hours to notify the FISA court with the "probable
cause" basis for the action. The FISA court consists of 12 justices appointed
by the Chief Justice.
When the government doesn't bother to notify or include the FISA court they are
breaking the law.
Nothing is inhibiting the need to protect the public by following the law. The
idea that some super-program can filter out the data is ludicrously
inefficient. No search query could ever be more than 99.9 % accurate. There
are just too many variations. Mind you during the average day, more than 1
billion communications occur. Now lets do the Math. 99.9 % means you have 0.1%
error. 0.1% of one billion equates to 0.001 x 1,000,000,000, which equals a
minimum of 1,000,000 calls a day.
Okay, now of this 1,000,000,which calls are the actual terrorists. And what of
the other "terrorist"-related calls that don't get fished into the net? Since
some of the calls will be false positives, what if your listening to these
calls gains you incidental information not related to the reason for the
monitoring (terrorism?) And what of the false negatives? These will also be
missed, and might be more important, so at best, any kind of software is
1,000,000 calls a day. How do we filter this residue? Does the administration
hire 100,000 people to monitor 10 calls a day? 10,000 people to monitor 100?
1,000 people to monitor 1000? 100 people to monitor 10,000? 10 to monitor
Who decides how to resolve the above issues as regards this "monitoring" of NSA
communications. You say you've got nothing to hide, but what happens if you
wind up in the 0.1% area. Does that mean your name gets put on a list? What
is the procedure? Again, incidental information could occur, so what is the
systematic approach to the filtering of this "monitoring."
Or would the above information leave us vulnerable to "the enemy" ?
"I can't talk about specifics. Information is obtained. Information is
retained. And information is obtained with respect to the rights of all
Americans." Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General of the the Dubya Bush
administration. The same Attorney General exclaimed in a recent speech
that "reasonable suspicion" was the same as "probable cause" because of
the clustered mumbo-jumbo legalese that he gave in the speech. Essentially,
argument boiled down to the proclaimation that "judges have long since agreed,"
which is not true. Judges have NOT LONG SINCE AGREED because the 4th amendment
is absolutely clear on this :
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the
persons or things to be seized.
This type of ongoing, surreptitious surveillance leaves us vulnerable to
intimidation. Only fools succomb to the idea that the world is not safe and so
therefore we must surrender our liberty. The world has never been safe, and
no amount of liberty given or surrendered will increase or decrease the world
It's not like we don't have a history. Pinkerton detectives were hired by many
industrialists -- examples: Oil magnate John Rockefeller, Henry Ford, big steel
manager Ford Frick-- from the 1890s to the 1930s to infiltrate and destroy the
union movement. Lynchings were the ante-bellum methods of supressing the slaves
and the black sharecroppers of the early 1900's. Start a cooperative to
finance a store that undercut the exorbitant prices of the small town "white"
store owner, and a few niggahs found themselves hanging by a rope. And equal
to the struggle for civil rights, the Union movement itself involved many
people getting shot and assassinated before Franklin Roosevelt enshrined the
right the form a Union in legislation.
The director of the FBI in the post-World War 2 world, J. Edgar Hoover was
known to be a closet homosexual who blackmailed many people in government and
political groups. The Cointelpro operation by the FBI involved infiltrating
environmental groups, peace groups, and other groups deemed "leftist" in the
effort to disrupt them by all means possible. The Nixon administration used
the CIA, the FBI, the IRS, and the Secret Service in every effort to destroy
perceived enemies on the enemies list, which was why the breaking into Daniel
Ellsberg's home and
the Democratic headquarters at Watergate occurred. Go refresh your history on
The creation of the FISA court in 1978 was the fruition of the Church
investigation by Senator Church of Idaho. The investigation revealed to the
nation the incredible
extent of the activities of the National Security Administration, the
CointelPro FBI program, the use of the IRS to intimidate people, and the use
of the secret service to form a police force under the direction of the
We've been here before.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 3h 39m 54s|
Arrested for wearing a tee-shirt
From NBC News and news services
Updated: 10:15 p.m. ET Jan. 31, 2006
Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the
antiwar movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night
just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman
Sheehan, who had been invited to attend the speech by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-
Calif., was charged with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor, Capitol Police told
NBC News. Sheehan was taken in handcuffs to police headquarters a few blocks
away and her case was processed as Bush spoke.
Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an
antiwar slogan to the speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police
warned her that such displays were not allowed, but she did not respond, the
The T-shirt bore the words “2,245 Dead — How Many More??” in reference
to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq, protesters told NBC News.
Police handcuffed Sheehan and removed her from the gallery before Bush arrived.
Sheehan was to be released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 3h 2m 9s|
He did it again.and again. and again
A "bi-partisan" commission to offer "bi-partisan" solutions to Social
Security. You don't say? Been there done that, people. George Dubya already
tried that attempt to destroy Social Security in 2001-2 when he had Daniel
Moynihan as the token non-partisan on the commission. The suggested remedy was
somehow almost exactly like what Bush promoted last year. Moynihan was
reported at the time to be very disatisfied with the operations of the
commission and made some snappy quip about how conclusions seemed to exist
prior to the investigation.
He goes on
So there he is acting like there is a problem that "won't go away" that isn't
related to his own reckless government spending that is outta control. I
repeat. Social Security is not in crisis.
American Competitivenes Initiative. American children get a sound foundation
in Math and Science. Alternative Energy sources. A tax credit. Public and
Private sectors. Insuring Opportunity for decades to come.
Encourage children to take more math and science. NCLB did what? Did he say
bring in 30,000 Math and Science professionals? Okay, specifically how are you
going to do this?
He is just now lying about the crime rates, the number of abortions, and the
births to teenage mothers. INCREDIBLE. Does anyone read regular newspapers
so they catch the stories that would let them know these were lies?
Activist courts that try to redefine marriage?
We have proven the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again?
Justices must be subserviant to the law and not legislate from the Bench?
Whoa, boy, then why did you nominate Alioto, who did exactly that on at least 5
occassions -- in applications of legislative statues to safety regulations,
his "theory of the Unitary executive," and his very constant uncommon
understandings of the law which on many occasions put him alone as the sole
descenting vote on the ruling of the Appeals court.
Of course, whatd'you expect. Vague hyperbole in a cute vernacular or ... or
|Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 2h 35m 25s|
Bush spits on the Union
Ugh, how he has just exploited that soldiers dying words and his family ? I
cannot recall the last time there was this use of American soldiers as a
symbolic mythological creation of a failure for a Presidency.
And just minutes before he declares "We are Winning."
Winning what? What is it exactly that is being "won" ? What does "winning"
mean? Give us a vision, sir Presidente, that isn't airy declarations that
corrupt overlord gang filed Afghanistan is actually a "democracy" because a few
thousand woman in Kabul voted on election day, when the rest of Afghanistan is
under the umbrella of the Taliban.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 2h 20m 28s|
What you should know about Rupurt Murdoch
Thanks to Atrios.
MURDOCH THE APOLOGIST FOR DICTATORSHIPS: Time Magazine reported that while
Murdoch is supposedly "a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist" he "became
bewitched by China in the early '90s." In an effort to persuade Chinese
dictators that he would never challenge their behavior, Murdoch "threw the BBC
off Star TV" (his satellite network operating in China) after BBC aired reports
about Chinese human rights violations. Murdoch argued the BBC "was gratuitously
attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and
over again." In 1998 Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for
the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China. [Source:
Time Magazine, 10/25/99]
MURDOCH THE PROPAGANDIST FOR DICTATORS: While Murdoch justifies his global
media empire as a threat to "totalitarian regimes everywhere," according to
Time Magazine, Murdoch actually pays the salary of a top TV consultant working
to improve the Chinese government's communist state-run television CCTV. As
Time notes, "nowadays, News Corp. and CCTV International are partners of
sorts," exchanging agreements to air each other's content, even though CCTV
is "a key propaganda arm of the Communist Party." [Source: Time Magazine,
MURDOCH THE ENABLER OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS: According to the LA Times,
Murdoch had his son James, now in charge of News Corp.'s China initiative,
attack the Falun Gong, the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government
after 10,000 of its followers protested in Tiananmen Square. With Rupert in
attendance, James Murdoch called the movement a "dangerous" and "apocalyptic
cult" and lambasted the Western press for its negative portrayal of China's
awful human rights record. Murdoch "startled even China's supporters with his
zealous defense of that government's harsh crackdown on Falun Gong and
criticism of Hong Kong democracy supporters." Murdoch also "said Hong Kong
democracy advocates should accept the reality of life under a strong-
willed 'absolutist' government." It "appeared to some to be a blatant effort to
curry favor" with the China's repressive government. [LA Times, 3/23/01]
[ here's a larger snippet of the Time article ]
Murdoch, a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist, became bewitched by China in
the early '90s. The Chinese leadership, while liberalizing in terms of
economics, still attempted to control information; satellite broadcasting
seemed an obvious threat to its ideological stranglehold.
To try and persuade the Chinese he was not a danger, Murdoch threw the BBC off
Star. He argued that it was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of
the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again. He also pointed out that
since the BBC broadcasts only in English, almost no Chinese could understand
it. In 1998 he ordered his British publishing firm, HarperCollins, to drop the
memoirs of Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and another fierce
critic of Beijing. The reward came last December when Chinese President Jiang
Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and
television covered China.
When I put it to him that he was betraying his anti-communist values to
ingratiate himself with Beijing, he said: "I don't think there are many
communists left in China. There's a one-party state and there's a communist
economy, which they are desperately trying to get out of and change. The real
story there is an economic story, tied to the democratic story." He argues that
Western entertainment, even without Western news, will help further dilute the
In case you didn't know, Rupurt Murdoch is the owner of all the ancillary
branches of the Fox Corporation both in the United States and abroad.
|Wednesday, 1 February 2006 at 1h 15m 22s|
They just don't care
You have to wonder just how hard George Bush's appointed heads
Homeland Security (Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff) tried to deal with
Hurricane Katrina. Especially after the following story reported in the New
York Times yesterday. [SOURCE
.] The story is written by Eric Lipton, someone whom I have found to be
consistently fair and reliable.
As Hurricane Katrina passed across the Gulf Coast last August, the federal
Interior Department offered hundreds of trucks and flat-bottomed boats,
thousands of law enforcement officers and even 11 aircraft to help with the
rescue effort. But much of the equipment and personnel were not used as part of
the federal response, or at least not used effectively, according to an account
prepared by department officials.
"Clearly these assets and skills were precisely relevant in the post-Katrina
environment," said the department's assessment, prepared at the request of a
Senate committee investigating the government's flawed reaction to the storm.
The report focused on the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Interior Department, the document says, has a staff of 4,400 law
enforcement officers, "many of whom work in harsh environments and are trained
in search and rescue, emergency medical services and evacuation," and many of
them were in the Gulf Coast area. Yet the report says they were not called to
help by FEMA until late September.
The Interior Department was not the only government agency to offer assistance
that was not used, or at least not used effectively. Senator Mary L. Landrieu,
Democrat of Louisiana, said in September that Amtrak had offered, before the
storm, to carry residents out, but that its train had left nearly empty. New
Mexico offered National Guard troops, but for days officials waited for formal
approval to use them.
But the internal documents note that the Interior Department is formally a part
of the January 2005 Southern Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Plan, prepared by
FEMA, and was supposed to play a support role in the "need for rescue and
sheltering of thousands of victims," according to the plan....
Even without an official federal assignment, some Interior Department boats and
security squads took part in rescue efforts, but it occurred on an ad hoc
basis, ultimately helping about 4,500 people, the department said.
They knew the Hurricane was going to be devastating at least 2 days prior
to hitting "Democratic-ly" dense New Orleans, and yet ignored every single
agency and public corporation ( Greyhound in addition to Amtrac ) that offered
to help rescue people. They even allowed a Naval vessel to lay off the coast
Louisiana waiting to be given an order to send in helicopters for 3 days
because, according to the Officer in charge, the president had not given orders
to act. When the evacuation finally proceeds they send all the refuges all
across the United States, rather than accumulate them in various different
places nearby -- like they did when THREE FREAKING Hurricanes tore into Florida
during Presidential election year 2004. I guess 2005 was not an election
year. Oh yea .... the Governor of Florida is brother Jeb Bush.
They exclaimed that no one predicted the levees would break, but then a report
prior to the Hurricane -- and emails -- come out indicating that they
themselves were well aware the levees could potentially give way. Rumsfeld and
others spoke of newspaper headlines that said New Orleans missed the bullet,
only to discover -- oopsie -- there were no newspaper headlines that said any
such thing. George Bush himself spent the first 2 days fund-raising in Arizona
and Colorado, then joining Senator McCain for his birthday party. And when he
finally made his way East on Wednesday, he spent the night in Crawford --
although he did "fly-over" the hurricane affected area for 15 minutes.
And don't forget the plethora of "photo-ops" the President made, where
according to German press reporters for Der Speigel, the
constructed water bottle dispersal centers were instantly deconstructed
when the cameras were turned off. And don't forget the firefighters who were
re-routed to Atlanta, Georgia for a couple days so they could be trained in
public relations before they could actually help anyone.
The President couldn't take the disaster seriously, but he did find time to
suspend the Davis-Bacon provisions of Government Contract Laws AND to a recess
appointment of a Department of Justice official that coincidentally
happened to oversee the Abrahmoff case. One has to have priorities, you see.
The suspension of the Davis-Bacon provisions is exceptionally egregious, since
this dropped the wage level for workers involved in the reconstruction from
the "prevailing wage" criterea to whatever the contracted corporations decided
they wanted to pay. Bush calls it "giving business incentives" when
he gets on this topic in his speeches. Really now, and with Karl Rove himself
man in charge of the Katrina Reconstruction processs, I'm sure the decisions on
who gets contracts are very fair and absolutely non-partisan.
Except one thing. It came out in November that -- oopsie -- KNPR ( a branch of
Halliburton ) was caught importing workers from Honduras. Instead of hiring
workers who actually live ( or lived ) in the area. Now surely, this was never
the intention by Bush when he suspended the Davis-Bacon provisions.
In the meantime, Karl and the gang sit back and toss fishes to the sharks,
hungry for more power.
This was by design folks, don't fool yourself. They are not incompetent. They
purposely allowed Katrina to become a disaster, because they thought they could
spin it as the fault of "the local politicians" while they filled the big bowl
for the contracting gravy train.
That's the sad, pathetic story of Katrina. Quite frankly, it really pisses me
off. My family is from New Orleans. I lived there from age 9 to 27.
And you wonder why I'm so passionate about this corruption and the lies which
are used to conceal the fact that these people are monsters.
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