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Saturday, January 31, 2004

J'ACCUSE 

I gotta be honest here, call me crazy but I'm actually more likely to believe Castro on this one.

Via AP:
``We know that Mr. Bush has committed himself to the mafia ... to assassinate me,'' the Cuban president said, using the term commonly employed here to describe anti-Castro Cuban Americans. ``I said it once before and today I'll say it clearer: I accuse him!''

Iraqspeech 

Iraqis learning fast not only what "democracy" really means, but also what "free speech" really means.

Via the AP:
Iraq's U.S.-appointed Governing Council has barred the Arab news channel Al-Jazeera from government offices and news conferences for one month, the council said in a statement Saturday.

The ban on one of the most popular television news stations in the Middle East went into effect Wednesday and is punishment for the disrespect the station allegedly showed toward prominent Iraqis, according to the statement. It is the second such ban against Al-Jazeera since September.

Al-Jazeera spokesman Jihad Ballout told The Associated Press that ``it's yet another unfortunate situation.''

``Al-Jazeera is trying to ascertain exactly what happened with a view to rectify the matter,'' Ballout said from Qatar, where Al-Jazeera is based. ``All that Al-Jazeera wants is to do its job professionally.''

According to the council's statement, Al-Jazeera has shown ``disrespect to Iraq and its people and harmed prominent religious and national figures.''
So, what have learned today class? Get your Iraqspeech dictionaries out and insert an entry for "free speech". Free speech = limited and revocable privilege to broadcast news and/or opinion. Generally granted after having proven you have nothing controversial or irreverent to say, and immediately revoked if you do.

I tell you what -- those on the Iraqi governing council sure learn quick -- I mean, it's like they do exactly what the US would do if it were in power...oh wait.

Friday, January 30, 2004

That's pretty low mister 

Stealing underwear.
You know, if I had a rubber hose I would beat you as...

US Blocks World Court's Inquiry into Israel's "Wonder Wall" 

Via AP:
In addition to the argument that only states can decide whether to be judged by the world court, Boucher said the barrier was an issue for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Negotiations indeed.

More here.

Cheating and Lying 

MORE for the prosecutorial misconduct file:
A federal prosecutor deliberately placed before a jury evidence that was banned from the case of Jay E. Lentz and then lied about it, a judge ruled yesterday in granting Lentz a new trial on charges of kidnapping and killing his former wife.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Mellin, a veteran prosecutor, put two day planners belonging to Doris Lentz in with the evidence that was carried to the jury room, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee wrote in an extraordinary 70-page ruling.

The issue emerged in July when three jurors came forward and said they had considered the banned day planners in reaching their guilty verdict. One juror said in an affidavit that the evidence led him to change his vote to guilty, and the jury forewoman, Karen Plante, said the material was "very influential."


What do the DA's have to say about it?
Lee's ruling yesterday created the curious spectacle of a sitting U.S. attorney firing back at a sitting federal judge. "We strongly disagree with the judge's finding in this matter," U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said in a statement. "Steve Mellin is an outstanding prosecutor who has a 13-year track record of unquestioned litigation and whose integrity is beyond reproach."
Beyond reproach indeed. Bastard has probably been doing this shit for 13 years. Glad a judge finally called him on it.


Thursday, January 29, 2004

"Haaaayyyyy'eah, Gonna Rock Your Body" 

Bowflex will do more than rock you body, it will break it.
Seriously though, couldn't this be assumption of risk? Any machinery sold with that guy singing in the background cannot be assumed to safe.

Headline Reform Competition 

The AP decided to call this "Tempers Flare During 'Taboo' Board Game", but I think "Cops Called to HOUSE because of Noise Disturbance, Search CAR -- find drugs"

Winner gets title of Caption King.

Interrogating 11 year olds 

We just free some children from Guantanamo. They "believed to be" between 13 and 15. Do you know what this means? The Afghan war, where we picked up all the folks, has been over for years -- so we basically seized and held a 10 or 11 year old as an "enemy combatant". Where's the outrage?

Martha Stewart Lawyer Kicks Ass! 

Via law.com
In an opening statement that sounded like a closing argument, Morvillo said his client was the victim of overzealous prosecutors who assumed Stewart lied when she said she planned to sell the shares all along. Intent on making a case against Stewart, he said, prosecutors chose to believe only that she sold the stock because she knew ImClone founder and family friend Samuel Waksal was unloading millions of his own family's shares in the company.

"This case is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Justice, headed by John Ashcroft," Morvillo said as he prowled in front of the jury box and ridiculed Congress for leaking erroneous information about Stewart and her co-defendant and former broker, Peter Bacanovic.

"Same government," Morvillo said, who at points slammed his open palm on the bar in front of the jury box for emphasis. "Leak it on one side, prosecute on the other. Same system. I think George Orwell was 20 years too early."


Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Chomsky 

New article up. Go.

More "Democracy" 

Hey US, little help? How bout brokering a peace agreement with Aristide and pushing him from power like you did in Georgia?
Dozens of students and parents crowded into the capital's main Canape Vert Hospital, sobbing and shouting anti-government slogans.

Haiti has been in turmoil since Aristide's Lavalas Family party swept 2000 legislative elections that observers said were flawed. In the past four months, at least 50 people have been killed.

The students want the United States to help them in calling for Aristide's resignation. U.S. troops restored Aristide to power in 1994 after a coup.

``The United States is an important factor in the crisis. It has to assume its responsibility,'' University of Haiti student leader Herve Saintilus said."
Sorry Herve, you don't have any oil, and Aristide's our guy.

USA Patriot Act, not a problem 

So says the Department of Justice (we'll ignore for a minute the claim that the Department of Justice can adequately investigate the Department of Justice). Why hasn't the Patriot Act been used to invade privacy and harrass defendants? Because they don't need it. They've been doing it for years via use of informants. And they've continued to do it.
"FBI agent told him to break the law by stealing mail from people the government identified as terror suspects."

CBS attempts to defend their refusal to run the Moveon Ad 

Here's the deal. CBS has a right to play or not play whichever ads they chose. That is not the point here. The point is that they have tried to avoid bad publicity by claiming their decision not to run the ad was based on an internal policy that, the allege, they've always followed.
They argue that they have NEVER run ads that would possibly skew "controversial issues of public importance."
They claim:
The policy is decades old. It is designed to prevent those with means to produce and purchase network advertising from having undue influence on "controversial issues of public importance."with means to produce and purchase network advertising from having undue influence on "controversial issues of public importance."
Sounds great! They don't allow those "with means" (aka rich guys) to skew important public issues by running ads on CBS. Well, why did they run those "if you're buying drugs you're funding terrorism" ads?

I can't believe they've actually put there response in writing. But here it is.
"Suggestions have also been made that we are violating our own policy by allowing the airing of messages that aim to curb drug abuse and smoking by minors. CBS is unaware of responsible groups that advocate drug abuse and smoking by minors, so it is hard to understand how these laudable efforts would constitute "controversial issues."
Did you miss it? The hand is truly quicker than the eye. They're arguing that no "responsible group" would seriously disagree with the previously run ads. That might be true if the ad were truly just a spot to "curb drug abuse and smoking by minors" as they claim it is. BUT IT WASN'T!!!! The ad claimed that people who buy pot fund the terrorists who kill judges and blow up the WTC. Is anyone going to buy this manure? Probably.

Law School Nerds 

So, I'm taking this class called Supreme Court Practice and Advocacy...
It's taught by a couple of hotshot lawyers who are former SCT clerks and I thought it might be fun to cover and learn the cases currently on the Court's docket. We basically read and argue all the cases on the current docket for the Supreme Court. The problem: nerds.

The class is lousy with NYU moot court members. Hypercompetitive geeks who delight when someone is not as adept at oral arguments as they consider themselves to be.

A less competent student (with likely little training) presented his side of Locke v. Davie and the geeks I was telling you about were downright savage to him. They were giggling with every mistake he made; they delighted when he didn't follow the proper protocol (oh my God he said, I'm out of time without asking if he could finish his answer to the Court's question!); they were giddy because he wasn't wearing a suit. In short, they were geeks.
I've never understood the transparency of these guys. I too remember feeling relieved when I discovered that fellow law students were having as much trouble as I was, but I never truly delighted in another's misery like these pricks (and countless other pricks) do. I mean, even if you're happy someone else is worse than you, try to hide it a little huh! These geeks tonight were literally shudering with glee, their built-up stress literally convulsing out of them. One of my favorite books (see "lawschool bible" link on the right hand side) called them "zero-summers" (they play a zero-sum game -- if someone wins, another necessarily loses), and I still haven't come up with a better definition. Can you?

If I weren't the model of restraint I am, I would have rolled up one or two of them afterward. I still have to do my presentation, perhaps I'll get my chance.



Why Bush Can't Sit On My Jury 

If I were a practicing criminal defense attorney (which I aspire to be) and Bush were in my jury pool -- he would be a definite strike. Why? Because, as even his most ardent defenders would admit, he makes his decisions based on his "gut" feeling (rather than the evidence before him). He "shoots from the hip."

He's the kind of guy who votes guilty because the defendant "looks" like a criminal; or because the defendant did something bad in the past. Worse still, even in the face of evidence proving the defendant's innocence, and his own vote for guilty wrong, he switches justifications -- Now, Bush argues, there is no real harm done because the defendant was a "bad dude". "If he didn't do this, he did something similar before, so there's no harm done." The streets are a safer place with this defendant behind bars, Bush says.

Perhaps what most disgusts me about Bush, is that there are literally millions upon millions just like him. That's why, after Bush had to completely shift his justification for war ex post facto, from WMD's to Democracy, no (save me) fell on the ground laughing. That's why, after all the damning evidence against his administration and him, there are no impeachment proceedings. There are too many people just...like...him. Like the police officer, who railroaded a defendant and later find out that he was completely innocent (after DNA exoneration), just shakes his head and quickly pulls out a justification --"well, he was a bad guy, he's done similar stuff in the past." Like your friend, who always comes up with some bunk argument as to why he didn't do anything wrong. That's our Bush. Bush -- The "Average Joe". Who shoots from the hip -- too often misses his mark and hits a passerby. I wish there weren't more like him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Bob Novak vs. Al Franken -- live on pay per view 

In the blue corner -- the man who unspun Bill O'Reilly, Al Franken.

And in the red corner -- a man who needs no introduction, the mouthpiece of the Bush administration, the freak of leak, Bob Novak!

Powell to Georgia... 

"We don't need to keep a US base in Georgia. Just so long as you guys protect our oil pipeline we're all good." (or words to that effect).

Powell also made this ridiculous, yet not directly related to my post, comment:
``Nobody should be concerned that somehow the United States is building up its forces to be a threat to anyone or to surround anyone,'' he said.
Yeah, I mean, what are you worried about? Like we're going to violate international law, ignore the UN, and invade you on a whim!

Ain't that America? 

You buy low, sell high. Even if you are selling American flags.

TORT REFORM TO THE RESCUE!!! 

Juvenille inmate spent last days writhing in pain "on a concrete slab" in Miami Regional Juvenille Detention Center while his appendix burst and killed him. What a way to go.

A grand jury indicted two nurses (see also, patsy's), and released a report:
``We were appalled at the utter lack of humanity demonstrated by many of the detention workers charged with the safety and care of our youth,'' the report said. ``At every turn in our investigation, we were confronted with incompetence, ambivalence and negligence.''
Don't worry though folks, I'm sure the kid's parents are thinking right now --> "WE DID IT, WE FINALLY HIT THE BIG ONE! JACKPOT!"

Ofcourse, they'll have a tough time suing the state because of the immunity the state enjoys (they'll have to allege violation of civil rights under federal law I'd imagine).

Monday, January 26, 2004

PATRIOT ACT Unconstitutional 

The particular potion of the Act found unconstitutional (void for vagueness) relates to "giving advice" to "designated" terrorist groups.
The road is hell is paved with...
"The Humanitarian Law Project, which brought the lawsuit, said the plaintiffs were threatened with 15 years in prison if they advised groups on seeking a peaceful resolution of the Kurds' campaign for self-determination in Turkey."


My Big Fat Obnoxious President 

According to our President -- Medical Malpractice is a "GIANT LOTTERY!"
"The health care system looks like a giant lottery, that's what it looks like these days with these lawsuits, and somehow the trial lawyers always hold the winning ticket,'' Bush said to an audience of several hundred medical professionals and others in a hospital auditorium here.
Bush is right on with this one. I mean, how many times have you read headlines like the one below?

I won, I won!
Local man wins lottery! After being paralyzed by a botched surgery, local man Joe Sixpack spent the night calling friends and family to boast that he had finally hit it big.
Hard to reach for that wallet when you're paralyzed.

Admittedly, attorneys do reap a large percentage of awards. But, if that's the real concern, why not just limit the percentage they can take?

CAPPS II continues -- what color are you? 

Red, yellow, or green?

Something smells here 

The Arizona prison hostage situation smells fishy to me. How about some information?
"Officials have declined to identify the inmates and the guards or to say what the inmates are demanding.
Arizona has a terrible history of maltreatment of inmates. My bet -- after they kill the inmates involved in this, we'll hear some pretty terrible allegations.

Note to self: No rooftops (or doorsteps for that matter) 

"Timothy Stansbury Jr., 19, was using the roof to get to a party when he was killed by Officer Richard S. Neri Jr. in a shooting that Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly later called unjustified. Yesterday, Mr. Kelly said he would convene a department panel of borough and field commanders to review the tactics that officers use while patrolling the stairs and roofs of apartment buildings - tours known as vertical patrols. Currently, officers may choose to conduct such patrols with their guns drawn.
--snip--
Officer Neri's weapon was drawn when he and his partner, Officer Jason Hallik, began to open the door to the stairwell, just as Mr. Stansbury was emerging, officials have said. Soon after the shooting, Officer Neri made statements suggesting he had been startled by the door's opening and involuntarily fired a shot."

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The US, Democracy, and an oil pipeline -- a case study 

Georgia v. Azerbaijan (both formerly of the Soviet Union) provide a unique opportunity to study whether or not the US really does care about Democracy, or whether "promoting democracy" is yet another hollow talking point for expanding American hegemony.

Azerbaijan:
"When [former leader Heydar Aliyev] became too ill to continue, he anointed his son [Ilham Aliyev] to run for president in his place. Mr. Aliyev's election was rigged from the start. The government appointed supporters as election officials. Police blocked opposition rallies and beat up opposition supporters. Citizens' groups were banned from monitoring the vote. When the opposition began to protest Mr. Aliyev's declaration of victory with 80 percent of the vote, the police charged the crowds. Hundreds of people were seriously injured and several killed. Hundreds more were arrested, including polling-station workers who refused to sign falsified vote totals. [after the election] Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state and former co-chairman of the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, a group close to the Aliyev family, phoned to congratulate Mr. Aliyev on his "strong showing."(10/27/03 NYT)
Since the “elections” (praised by Washington),
"the new government of Azerbaijan has conducted a campaign of repression marked by arbitrary arrests, beatings, torture and the dismissal of dissenters from government jobs...a wave of up to 1,000 arrests of opposition party leaders and members, democracy activists, journalists and election officials and observers who challenged widespread electoral fraud."


Contrast this with Georgia:
After suspect parliament elections in November there was an uprising, which was fully supported (and funded) by the US. It is important to note that this was not a presidential election. Yet:
"the State Department condemned the vote"(NYT 11/23/03), and the US became highly involved in pushing the popularly elected president from power.

"Moscow and Washington came together to help ease Mr. Shevardnadze safely from power ...The Russian foreign minister, Igor S. Ivanov, after speaking with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, brokered an agreement between the president and the opposition....Mr. Ivanov [said], "It's completely evident that there was external pressure, interference in internal affairs by certain countries."

And it was reported, "There is no question that the United States was busy here, financing pro-democracy groups and, indirectly, bankrolling training for the opposition in Serbia. "Mr. Shevardnadze...has led Georgia for 12 years. Under the Constitution he must step aside in a presidential vote in 2005... "I am ready to continue dialogue with the opposition leaders," he said on television. "I am even ready to talk with their 'commander in chief,' Saakashvili." As the English-language daily The Messenger put it this week: "Despite the fact that he is adored in the West as an 'architect of democracy' and credited with ending the cold war." (11/15/03 NYT)


Why the disparate treatment of Azer and Georgia? Why is one, clearly anti-democratic, praised, while the other, questionably democratic denounced? In Georgia, the "architect of democracy" (who showed a strong willingness to negotiate with the other side) is pushed from power by Washington (even though the disputed elections weren't even for his post!). Meanwhile, in Azerbaijan, the presidential elections (unanimously regarded as fraudulent) are praised by the US! And, pro-democracy rallies are brutally stomped out. What gives?

Cheney's energy task force Id'd Azerbaijan as an important new supplier. Rumsfeld visited both Georgia (after the successful “pro-democracy” revolt) and Azerbaijan (after attempted “pro-democracy” revolts had been squelched – and praised by Washington) on 12/5 and 12/6/2003. "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld arrived at this Caspian Sea port [Azerbaijan] on Wednesday to warn that the inland ocean, which produces oil as well as caviar, is also a transit route for terrorists, unconventional weapons and narcotics." (NYT 12/4/2003). The US has paid around 1.2 billion to train Georgian troops to "fight terrorism" (making Georgia on par, per capita, with Egypt and Israel for US "aid").

Which brings me to my point-->We don't care at all about "democracy", in the middle-east or anywhere else. We DO care about oil. Whichever regimes are best to protect the oil pipeline running from Azerbaijan, through Georgia, to Turkey. And, we'll pay for, and train, troops to combat "terrorist" and "illegal narcotics trade" = protect our pipeline. It seems abudantly clear to me that this whole "combatting terrorism" stuff is a smoke-screen to allow funnelling of US taxpayer money to create and train fighting forces in our obedient client-state's (ostensibly for "fighting terror", but obviously for protecting our oil interests).

Wesley Clark 

Wes Clark on "This Week" with Tim Russert. WOW!

I was really up on this guy, like a lot of people, until he entered the race. He came off a little, well, odd. He had no polish; no schtick.

Folks, that has all changed. He may have been an amateur at the start of this thing, but he is slick like Willy now. Here comes Wes Clark....CHARGE!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Lest we forget 

The slog continues.

Conspiracy theory, or possible reality? 

According to "Jane's Intelligence Digest", the US may soon launch attacks in Lebanon:
"The prospect of the United States attacking Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon is no idle threat...In a phone interview from London, Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest, confirmed that his sources were American and that they were communicating the views of people close to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Asked if his sources were in the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, he replied that he could not identify them further.
I hope this is bunk. But I would not be surprised either way. Would anyone be surprised by anything this administration did? Give me a scenario.

What are you trying to do, change things? 

I say, throw the book at this guy!
"Patterson was standing outside Englewood Cares Outreach Ministries, urging bystanders to register to vote, and refused to leave when the pastor asked him to."
How dare he.

Halliburton to taxpayers, "Whoops, my bad" 

On Thursday, Halliburton admitted at least $6.3 million in illegal kickbacks from a Kuwaiti firm (to send a little biz their way).

On Friday, Halliburton was awarded another $1.2 billion in government contracts for Iraq.

But, don't worry:
"White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told reporters on Friday, "There are a lot of safeguards that have been put in place in the contracting process, and we expect those safeguards to be followed." In the case of an overpayment, he added, "We expect that to be repaid in full."
This is reminiscent of the recently decried multi billion dollar Alabama jury award for breach of contract. (the oil company's internal memo said it doesn't matter if we breach the contract, because even if they find out, we'll just have to pay it back). How about some punitive damages here? Oh, my bad. Punitive damages are the scourge of the country creating that "entitlement/jackpot" mentality. Move along, nothing to see here.

Libya update -- Beware the manure 

Cheney said today: "The recent decision by the Libyan president, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, to give up his nation's illicit weapons programs, was the result of quiet diplomacy backed up by the threat of force, Mr. Cheney said. "Our diplomacy with Libya was successful only because our word was credible," he said." Bush repeated this bullshit in his SOTU address.

A few weeks ago, I noted that this Libya nonsense was going to be trumpeted as an excuse, ex post facto, for going to war in Iraq. Libya 'feared' us, and decided to cave. It just ain't true. As FLYNT LEVERETT pointed out in his NYTimes op-ed yesterday, Libya did this ONLY to get our from under economic sanctions that have crippled the country (much like Saddam Hussein's Iraq was crippled -- so, oddly, the Libyan situation is an example of why war was NOT needed -- sanctions get the job done).
"Tired of international isolation and economic sanctions, the Libyans decided in the late 1990's to seek normalized relations with the United States, and held secret discussions with Clinton administration officials to convey that message. The Clinton White House made clear that no movement toward better relations was possible until Libya met its responsibilities stemming from the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.
--snip--
These discussions... produced a breakthrough: Libya turned over two intelligence officers implicated in the Pan Am 103 attack to the Netherlands for trial by a Scottish court, and in 1999 Washington acquiesced to the suspension of United Nations sanctions against Libya.

Then, in the spring of 2001, when I was a member of the State Department's policy planning staff, the Bush administration picked up on those discussions and induced the Libyans to meet their remaining Lockerbie obligations. With our British colleagues, we presented the Libyans with a "script" indicating what they needed to do and say to satisfy our requirements on compensating the families of the Pan Am 103 victims and accepting responsibility for the actions of the Libyan intelligence officers implicated in the case.

We also put an explicit quid pro quo on the table: if Libya met the conditions we laid out, the United States and Britain would allow United Nations sanctions to be lifted permanently. This script became the basis for three-party negotiations to resolve the Lockerbie issue.

By early 2003, after a Scottish appeals court upheld the conviction of one of the Libyan intelligence officers, it was evident that our approach would bear fruit. Indeed, Washington allowed the United Nations sanctions against Libya to be removed last summer after Libya reached a compensation agreement with the Pan Am 103 families and accepted responsibility for its officials' actions.

But during these two years of talks, American negotiators consistently told the Libyans that resolving the Lockerbie situation would lead to no more than elimination of United Nations sanctions. To get out from under the separate United States sanctions, Libya would have to address other concerns, particularly regarding its programs in weapons of mass destruction."
Note that the Bush admin claimed that Libya "approached" them about 9 months ago -- as if there had been no prior discussions. This lie allows the White House to claim that that impetus for Libya's declaration was the Iraq war. Nobody comes forward to call a spade a spade, and the manure is later piped into millions of American homes in the SOTU.

Oh the brilliance! 

By selecting against Dean, the Iowa voters have effectively removed any talk of the illegality, impropriety, and lack of justification for the Iraq war. The issues on the campaign will now be isolated to -- is Bush doing a good enough job of handling it, instead of -- did the motherfucker lie to the American people in order to pursue pet projects of far right wing ideologues.
As Thomas Friedman put it in his NYTimes op-ed recently:
"It was a good night for the [Tony] Blair Democrats in Iowa," said Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute. By "Blair Democrats," Mr. Marshall was referring to those Democrats who voted for the Iraq war, and conveyed "a toughness and resolve to face down America's enemies," but who believe the Bush team has mismanaged the project. This is so important because there has been no credible opposition to the Bush foreign policy since the Iraq war. Democrats have been intimidated either by Mr. Bush or by Mr. Dean."
Incidentally, this shows again the predictive brilliance of Chomsky's "manufacturing consent" theory about the American media. He argues, quite persuasively I might add, that the mainstream media (and consequently, the populous) never truly questions/challenges large institutional decisions (like whether to go to war). The question is never, "should we be there killing all these people for our personal gain", but rather "why aren't we more effecient at exerting hegemony and killing all these people."

Anyway, the removal of Dean from this election -- to me -- will all but guarantee Bush will win. If all we have left is -- you should've been more efficient, I would have been! -- we're fucking cooked. I really have to give it to the Bush & Co political machine. They're truly brilliant.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Janklow's Sentence Fair? 

100 days, not 11 years for Janklow.
I praise this sentence. Some will say it is too light, but I don't agree. Locking this guy up for more time than this would serve absolutely no purpose.

While I agree with this sentence, I do wish it were available to more people -- people who are not rich, famous, and politically powerful.

Shit just ain't fair.


Crossing the line 

Many idiots (on this site and others) have argued that it was not okay for Hezbollah to fire on an Israeli bulldozer, ridden by an Israeli soldier, who indisuptably crossed into Lebannon. Okay. So those same people will join me in denouncing the murder of a young boy who was out trying to catch birds, on his own side of the "wonder wall", shot and killed today, by Israeli soldiers.

"The Palestinian boy killed Thursday, Mohsan Daur, was from the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. [Mohsan, who was in fifth grade, suffered a single shot to the back of the head]

[The boy] and several other boys from the neighborhood set out to hunt goldfinches east of Gaza City, near the border fence, in one of the few green areas in overpopulated Gaza.

Some Palestinian children hunt birds for pocket money, selling them for meat or as pets. A goldfinch can bring up to $20 in Gaza City's markets; many Palestinians keep caged songbirds in their homes.

Asked why Mohsan's family didn't stop him from going into the dangerous border zone, where trespassers are often shot by Israeli soldiers on sight, the uncle said: ``Children their age have no place to go, they have no playground.''

The military said soldiers spotted seven figures with a ladder near the border fence Thursday morning. Troops opened fire, believing those approaching might be militants trying to sneak into Israel or plant anti-tank mines. The shootings took place in daylight, but the military said it was not clear whether troops realized those near the fence were youngsters."
I'm waiting.

MORE -- For the law enforcement misconduct file 

"The investigation began with the canine unit in 1999 after reports that officers set dogs on suspects for no reason. One former canine officer is serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison for letting her dog attack an unarmed homeless man.

The second, larger probe was launched in October 2000 after an undercover Prince George's officer shot an unarmed Howard University student in the back after tailing him to northern Virginia."
Disgusting.

Update on 10 year prison term for consensual sex... 

Just to give you an idea how bad most reporting is -- the AP article I linked up below hinted that the 10 year prison sentence was for statutory rape -- it wasn't. I noted that most states have an exception for consensual sex between persons of close age proximity -- it turns out Georgia does, a little ("in 1996, when the statutory rape law was amended to make it only a misdemeanor for 17- or 18-year-olds to have sex with teens who are less than three years younger than them.")

The case went to argument at the Georgia Supreme Court Wednesday.

The kid was acquitted of "rape," but convicted of:
"misdemeanor statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, one of the so-called "seven deadly sins" for which Georgia law requires at least a 10-year prison term.
--snip--
Aggravated child molestation is defined as an immoral act in which one touches a child in order to satisfy sexual desires, resulting in injury. The girl in the Dixon case testified that she had been a virgin and that she bled after the incident. At times, Sears and others sounded concerned that teenagers engaging in any sexual activity that results in any injury -- the statute does not define "injury" -- could be subject to 10 years in prison.


And in case you haven't yet figured out that prosecutors are scum, here's a sampling of their mindset:
""Couldn't prosecutors be more creative in what you charge?" Presiding Justice Leah Ward Sears asked. Floyd County Assistant District Attorney John F. McClellan Jr... responded that his job was to prosecute people for violating all of the laws the state could prove were broken.

At least Dixon is getting good representation -- his appellate lawyers are from Long, Aldridge.





Wednesday, January 21, 2004

NO JOHN KERRY 

Noticed how the Dems are voting for "whoever can win" against Bush? I am, likewise, in the ABB (anybody but Bush) camp. But, I watch these simpleton fucks on the tele talking about how they chose their candidate in the Caucus based on who could beat Bush, (In case you didn't notice, this is what caused Dean to lose his lead -- the notion that he cannot beat GW.) and I can't help but feel a little uneasy.

Doesn't anybody just pick the candidate they want to win? This is a fucking primary people! Stop trying to be Karl Rove and vote for who you like.

This year's caucus was huge (around twice as many people voted as in 2000). Why? Because people hate Bush? Possibly. But it seems more plausible to me that the reason people went to the polls was largely due to the organizing from the Dean campaign -- albeit only to lose those votes within the last few days because they all came to the conclusion that Dean couldn't beat Bush. Where did they get that idea? Hmmmm... It came from the fucking White House! The Repubs were leaking like crazy to the press that they were "licking their chops" about Dean because he'd be so easy to beat.

My question is --> if that's why you didn't pick Dean, then why the FUCK would you pick KERRY? This guy reeks of slick, northern liberal, wealthy, lifetime politician. Kerry's a nice guy and everything, but there's no way that he can motivate people to go to the polls. He has no currency in the South. If the Dems lose the South, and the same people who voted in 2000, vote in 2004 -- we will lose. There I go, trying to be Karl Rove....

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Anti-terrorism funds going to good use 

Let's look behind the anti-terrorism funds door number three and see what you've won....A $17,000 PLASMA TV!

I guess it makes sense in an odd way. I mean, lets be honest, the terrorists hate us because of our freedoms (like plasma tv's). So, it only makes sense to buy the tv, otherwise the terrorists have won.

10 years for consensual sex 

Statutory rape, it's one of the most unfair areas the law. It's strict liability (consent is no defense). Almost every state has one of these laws, and they are often defended on the grounds that the statutes aren't used against students who are in school together (some states have a classmate exception). Apparently, Georgia isn't one of them.

In this case, an 18 year old boy will go to prison for having consensual sex with a classmate. It shouldn't matter, but of course it does, that he was an honor student with nearly a 4.0 GPA and a scholarship to Vanderbilt (that was rescinded because of this unpleasantness).

The article says that the jurors were really pissed when they heard about the sentence, but of course, we don't really care what jurors think about punishment (we can't entrust that function to them).

Here's the irony. The state of Georgia, by imposing this sentence on this kid, is virtually guaranteeing that rape will occur (to him, in prison, repeatedly). This makes me sick.

Here's a somewhat related link.

For the Law Enforcement misconduct file: 

"The report came as two more Detroit police officers pleaded guilty Tuesday in a federal corruption case, acknowledging they wrote false reports to justify arrests.

Eighteen current or former Detroit officers have been indicted in what prosecutors said was a conspiracy that involved stealing money and drugs from suspects during illegal searches."


More sanctioned madness in the middle-east 

Israel bombed Lebanon in "retaliation". Of course, "retaliation" is yet another term subject to special definition. As used here, it means intruding on another country's sovereign territory with a bulldozer, being shot at, then using warplanes to bomb the "aggressors".
"Israel first said that the bulldozer had not left Israeli territory, but military officials acknowledged Tuesday that it had strayed just across the frontier.
--snip--
Milos Strugar, a spokesman with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which monitors the border region, said the Israeli bulldozer was on the Lebanese side when it was hit, Agence France-Presse reported."

"Powell, at a news conference, said it was unfortunate that Hezbollah again has caused a need for Israel to respond by killing an Israeli soldier."

Condolezza Rice.... 

is dressed in all-white and looks like a pimp in the front row of the Senate!

Key provisions of the PATRIOT ACT will expire next year..... 

APPLAUSE....!!!!! HA HA HA HA

Bet 'ole Bush wasn't ready for that one! Awesome.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Winning of Hearts and Minds continues 

We killed three children and four women by bombing their house today in Afghanistan.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Kobe's Law 

And so it begins...the highly predictable flood of laws sure to blow through a legislature near you.
"Republican state Sen. Bruce Cairns proposed a bill that would ... allow victims to have an advocate at their side when interviewed by police."
I'm completely fed up with this new "profession" of victim advocates that have sprung up within the last 10 years. I've known many of them and they're complete quacks (no training, no education -- the one in Athens is the DA's former secretary) who do nothing more than stoke the flames of some already highly volatile situations. They literally coach the witnesses, buy them clothes (taxpayer money) so they look all nice in court, buy them lunches, and provide transportation to court. Real fair.

And what's up with giving sexual assault victims this special treatment? A murder suspect's spouse doesn't get a "victim advocate" to sit by them during police questioning. Why? Because they're often the prime suspect and we don't want anyone getting in the way of a confession. As anyone who has even cursory familiarity with the criminal "justice" system knows, defendants only have a right to have someone with them (an attorney) during "questioning" in very limited circumstances. Questioning in sexual assault cases is especially needed because it must be determined whether or not there actually was a "crime" comitted. It's as if they want to create a presumption in alleged sexual assault cases that there is a "victim" (even in the earliest stage of mere "questioning" by police). Effectively removing the police function of ferretting out false charges and sparing the "defendant" the stigma of an indictment. In summation, this is completely fucked, but I don't expect it to be the end of the proposed laws.

It's about the oil...er....the Water! 

I've read many pundits arge that water rights are really one of the biggest issues with respect to the Israeli/Palestinian/Syrian problem. Apparently, Israel agrees:
"According to Danny Yatom, who headed then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's political staff at the time, Barak was offering the Syrians a withdrawal from all of the captured Golan Heights down to the Sea of Galilee, except for a small Israeli presence on the east bank of the inland sea. The Sea of Galilee is Israel's main source of fresh water."

Ranja rock 

Great "Proud to be an American" remix over at Poker & Liberty.
"And I'm proud to be an American!
Where I pay tax on property I already own!
And where I can be put in jail for smoking
The wrong type of plant when I'm in my own home!

And I'll proudly stand up PSSSSH!
Next to you and consent to a full body cavity search
Because I might have some cocaine hidden in my anus . . . . hidden in his anus
God Bless the U.S.AAAAAAAAA.
Go.

Open up real wide --- plug your nose -- and prepare to swallow 

No, it's not time to take your cough medicine, it's time to hear the State of Union speech!

As expected, Bush's speech-writers have seized on the Libya situation as evidence that the Iraq invasion made us safer:
"The speech will begin with a tour of the world, including a claim by Bush that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq made the nation safer. Advisers said Bush plans to make a big point, in the speech and during the campaign, of Libya's decision last month to surrender its chemical and biological weapons."
(See my previous post regarding this claim.)

It just kills me how no one dies laughing when this claim is made. Especially because every national security think-tank (including the CIA and FBI) concluded that the invasion would cause more terror due to alignment of previously unaligned interests.

Killer struggled with executioners on way to gurney 

For the, "as if anyone cares" file:
"After a horrifying struggle with his executioners and pleas for help, he was strapped to a gurney and died last week by lethal injection.
--snip--
Williams' mother, Bonnie, trembled while watching her son struggle, then wept and pressed herself up against the glass separating witnesses from the death chamber. Even the prison director described the episode as traumatic."

When Pigs Fly 

Pork spending in outerspace.

Turns out the "new" Bush plan for space is just a name change (originally "Star Wars", the "missile defense shield"). Guess who gets the money?

Very Mature  

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised Israel's ambassador to Sweden on Sunday for vandalizing a Stockholm art display about a Palestinian suicide bomber, saying the ``entire government stands behind him.''
--snip--
The artwork depicts a small ship in a rectangular pool filled with red-colored water. The ship carries a picture of Islamic Jihad bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who killed herself and 21 bystanders in an Oct. 4 suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel.
--snip--
Dror Feiler, the Israeli-born artist who created the piece, said it was supposed to call attention to how weak, lonely people can be capable of horrible things.
--snip--
The Israeli ambassador, Zvi Mazel, threw a mounted spotlight at the outdoor exhibit in Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities on Friday. He said the display legitimized genocide, and Israel has demanded that it be removed.



Saturday, January 17, 2004

For the prosecutorial misconduct file... 

Note that another prosecutor requested this investigation.
The prosecutors who are assigned to prosecute terrorists are the best, brightest, and supposedly the most ethical. So, you can imagine how unethical a run-of-the-mill DA is.

Just put this one with the other prosecutorial misconduct stuff.

Scalia and Cheney sittin' in a tree... 

I'm sure this won't affect his judgment either way. I'm serious. Like we didn't already know how he was going to vote anyway.

"This is what democracy looks like" 

Last year, I rented "This Is What Democracy Looks Like" in Athens' great video store, "Vision Video". It's a documentary about the Seattle WTO protests. It showed, to my satisfaction, that the police had engaged in a plan to limit the protestor's first amendment rights -- and then had them all summarily arrested for bullshit charges. National and local reporting of the protests, you will recall, focused on how these "anti-globalization environmentalist nuts" had gone crazy for no apparent reason and smashed property.

Well, it turns out the "crazies" were right. A judge recently ruled that the arrests were completely without probable cause, and now the city has settled lawsuits for $250k.

We'll likely see some similar suits settled in a few years in response to the Miama FTAA protests last year. Free speech indeed.

Friday, January 16, 2004

It's not just a job, it's an Adventure....in being a human guinea pig 

"In most cases, supposedly harmless simulants were used to mimic anthrax, E. coli or other agents, although in a number of cases potentially deadly nerve agents were used, including sarin and VX.

Numerous veterans say they are now suffering from illnesses because of exposure, but the Veterans Affairs Administration has denied requests for health care coverage."
Plus, we still don't have all the information because:
"The Pentagon is continuing to withhold documents on Cold War chemical and biological weapons tests that used unsuspecting sailors as ``human samplers'' after telling Congress it had released all medically relevant information.

Guess who is likely the main dealer in illegal nuclear arms?  

Our newest good buddy in the "war on terrorism", Pakistan.
"The case is the latest indication that Pakistan -- a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism -- is deeply involved in the nuclear weapons black market. The United States for years has restricted exports of sensitive goods to Pakistan because of its nuclear weapons program."


Of course, we won't be hearing much about this because they are one of our buddies. Move along, nothing to see here.

Notice any disturbing trends? 

The "targeted killings" have dramatically increased since you know who gave Sharon a free hand.

Now this is Exactly what Business in America Needs! 

MORE of a voice in what the government does!

I was just saying the other day that businesses don't have enough of a say in this so called democracy, and that we should be trying to lend them a hand so they can actually get involved in the representive political process. I mean, c'mon people, they've been shut out for too long. And another thing, the so called "common man" has had it way too good for way too long (cite: see R.Strickland)It's time to make him really work for his dollar. No more handouts!


Sadly, this isn't a joke.

Democracy Indeed 

I love how we continue to define and re-define what "democracy" is. To the untrained, uneducated Iraqi people (who Bush and Perle supposedly love so much), democracy means voting for who/what you want. Not so, says we. Especially if the people want something we don't want them to have (like a clerical state OR the right to kick our troops off their land).
"Administration officials insist they will hold to the July 1 deadline but they are exploring ways to strike a compromise with a leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, and his supporters.

Al-Sistani is pressing for direct, popular elections, rather than the caucuses envisioned in the U.S. plan, as the way to create Iraq's new government.
--snip--
The cleric also is insisting Iraqis should be permitted to vote on whether American peacekeeping troops remain in the country after transition."
--snip--
But [press secretary] McClellan said, ``There are a lot of things you'd want to have in place for those elections that are not in place at this point.

Yes. We need "things" to be "in place" first. I wonder how the neo-cons would define "things"?

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Class Action Reform -- Bullshit 

It should come as absolutely no surprise that the actual data doesn't reflect the claims of "reformers".

This is in the vein that of the fact that there is no tort crisis in America.

By the way, Geoffrey Miller is one of my professors. Updates to follow.

Disgusting 

We hold children. F'ing children! And yet, nobody cares. C'mon America, give a shit.

I Hate Dennis Miller 

Smug little prick that he is.

Drudge is singing his praises, while Atrios points out the glaring hypocrisy.

Note: Drudge deleted this article within the past few hours (likely in response the Atrios' response blog)

I'm not bragging but... 

It always gives me a warm feeling inside when I beat THE Atrios to the punch.

"WONDER" WALL 

My humble suggestion for Israel's image campaign for its wall.

"Israel is considering a name change for its massive complex of walls, fences and watch towers in the West Bank to improve its international image -- the ``Terror Prevention Fence.''
I'm wish I were kidding.

Maybe "Freedom Wall" is better.

GOP's Well Oiled Propaganda Machine Flexes Muscles 

Dean seen as "most liberal" despite the fact he isn't! As we all know, the "liberal" label is a killer. The beauty is that the message is short and sweet. How many times have you heard a newscast start off with, "Howard Dean's strong anti-war stance...."?

Oh God No 

Katherine Harris in the m'f Senate!

Whoops, sorry about that one 

Another "mistake" from the best justice system in the world.

Not likely to hear this much 

Remember how Haliburton's claims that they HAD to buy from the Kuwaiti company squelched the fires? Well, it turns out that may not be true (surprise):
"Halliburton has claimed that Altanmia was the only company approved by the Kuwaiti government to sell fuel in Iraq. But the Corps of Engineers document doesn't say that. It says Altanmia had to get Kuwaiti government approval for its sales to Halliburton because it had never sold fuel before. The Army document does not mention any demand by Kuwait that only Altanmia could be used as a supplier."

Pay attention. My bet -- You won't hear about this much anymore.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Supreme Court of Georgia steps up 

This may cause some law enforcement to rethink their procedures for giving Miranda.
"Ronald L. Carlson, who teaches criminal procedure at the University of Georgia School of Law, said the decision was an important step in the court's continual refinement of the law surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1966 decision of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436.

McDougal's case, he noted, showed law enforcement agencies that rights have to be read earlier in the process than some police agencies required, that a suspect's desire to call his wife so she could contact an attorney constituted a request for an attorney, and that custody "does not depend on a formal arrest.""

Limbaugh Update 

Apparently, I'm not the only lefty supporting Rush Limbaugh. The m-f'ing ACLU is on board too! Roy Black (Limbaugh's lawyer, and a personal hero of mine) put it best when he said, "The issues raised in this appeal effect all Floridians, regardless of their political inclinations''

You see! Logical consistency is possible, regardless of political affiliation.

US's main Client state demands clean slate in negotiations with Syria 

Is there any correllation between Syria being in the crosshairs of the Neo-Cons and Sharon's demand for Syria/Israeli talks to begin on a "clean slate." Nah. I'm sure they're totally unrelated.

US's hypocritical deplomacy continues  

We support democracy, except when it's not in our interest.

This is the Tom Green Show, it's not the green Tom show 

One of the best episodes of Tom Green's old show was where he painted his parent's car with images of "sluts". He wrote "slut-mobile" on the hood, and painted porn pictures of naked women all over the car. It's a good thing the show was shot in Canada, because in the US he would be facing 3 years in prison for disseminating matter harmful to minors (a felony).

The best part is, the car does not even belong to the woman who was driving it.

Your Papers Please! 

Close your car door and toss your rights out the window.
"The Supreme Court, in a case watched anxiously by law enforcement agencies across America, held Tuesday that police may set up roadblocks to collect tips about unsolved crimes. In a 6-3 decision, the justices found roadblocks seeking such information do not violate the privacy rights of motorists."
Notice how the justices are focusing on the wrong questions:
"Justice Stephen Breyer, writing the majority opinion, said that short stops, ``a very few minutes at most,'' are not too intrusive on motorists. Police may hand out a flyer, or ask drivers to volunteer information about crimes, he said."
We all know the police aren't going to set up roadblocks and hand out flyers like some jazz club promoter. Under Breyer's logic, ass-rapes that take only a "very few minutes at most" are not too intrusive.

This case is going to be used masterfully by law enforcement. From this day forth, suppression hearings for roadblock drug arrests will go something like this:
Q: You had the roadblock set up outside the housing complex?
A: Yes.
Q: You had drug sniffing dogs?
A: Yes, they had that capability.
Q: You were there to search cars for drugs?
A: No. We were there to get 'information' about a crime that was committed near the housing complex a few weeks prior.
Judge: Under Illinois v. Lidster I find that this search was permissible. Trial is set for next month. Next case.

Comments 

From my comments host,
"BlogSpeak is currently down because the bastards that host it decided to suspend my account. I do not know as of yet when this situation will be resolved. If you don't want any JavaScript errors on your pages, take the code off for the time being. If you're pissed off because your comments don't work, I would be too. Believe me, I'm not too happy about my account being suspended either. I do have a backup of the DB from an hour before the suspension occurred. So if the server comes back up, or I have to get a new server, of even pass the duties of maintaining BlogSpeak off to someone else, everything will be in tact."

Monday, January 12, 2004

No waiting for airline passengers of documented "Anglo-American" heritage 

"Airline passengers who voluntarily submit to a background check to demonstrate that they are not security risks could receive identity cards that would exempt them from being routinely selected for extra screening at airports."
Those of "questionable" racial lineage, and those admitting to being of jewish or arab persuasion will, of course, not be allowed to get the special passes and will be, naturally, summarily shot.

It's all part of the brilliant CAPPS II Program

Put this is the "mandatory-minimums are immoral" file 

According to the US Congress, it is better to "molest" a child than to "transmit" child porn.

18 year old is sentenced to 10 years under Congress' brilliant mandatory minimum sentencing. Yet, as the judge noted:
"if the teenager had been charged with having sex with a 12-year-old, he would face only about five years. "This leads me to the rather astonishing conclusion that Mr. Pabon-Cruz would have been better off molesting a child,"

The judge is pissed. And he should be. Maybe all these judges will band together and refuse to impose the sentences required by Congress. Maybe not.

That chick in the group "Hanson" is hot! 

A friend of mine loves to tell a variation of this joke; maybe he'd like the t-shirt too.

Chocolate Rations are Up! 

Nobody does 1984 references like This Modern World.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Med Mal and Tort Reform 

So I spend the weekend celebrating my cousin's graduation from the police academy. Many members of the family were also in attendance, several of which are practicing physicians. I get into a tort reform debate with them (true to form) and my uncle SWEARS to me that while the actual number of claims has remained constant, the size of the settlements/awards have doubled in just the past year. I call bullshit on him, but he is insistant.

Can anyone recommend any links that refute his claim?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

BEWARE -- the doctrine of "change of course" is upon us 

"There is a trap which is deeply rooted in the intellectual culture, and we have to avoid it. The trap is the doctrine that I sometimes call the doctrine of change of course. It's a doctrine that's invoked every two or three years in the United States. The content of the doctrine is yes, in the past, we did some wrong things because of our innocence or out of inadvertence, but now that's all over, so we can't not waste any more time on this boring, stale stuff, which incidentally we suppressed and denied while it was happening, but must now be effaced from history as we march forward to a glorious future.
Terror and the proliferation of WMD increased as a consequence of the Iraq invasion:
"Exactly as predicted, the administration was certainly aware of this. I mean they can figure it out themselves even without reading the reports of their own intelligence agencies, and they don't desire that outcome, but they don't care that much. It just has a low priority, ranked alongside of other concerns. And those other concerns are not insignificant. Some of them are domestic. These are not conservatives. They are radical reactionary statists, who are dedicated to unraveling the progressive achievements, legislation and actions of the past century, and to do that, they have a very narrow hold on political power. They must maintain it in order to carry out that program...
--snip--
So George Bush in his radio addresses a couple of weeks ago, he continues to repeat that the U.S., I'm quoting him, "saved the world from a tyrant, who was developing weapons of mass destruction, and cultivating ties to terror." Well, you know, nobody believes that, including his speechwriter, but they know something else. They know that if you keep repeating a lie long and loud enough, and nobody takes you to account for it, it will become truth....
--snip--
The collapse of the official stories about weapons of mass destruction and terror, they did have consequences. In a fact, ominous consequences. The most significant consequence of the collapse of the story about weapons of mass destruction was that it changed the official doctrine. All of this is taking place in the context of the national security strategy that was announced in September, 2002. That strategy was based on the principle that if a country has weapons of mass destruction, the United States is entitled to attack it in anticipatory self-defense.

What's called in the press and some commentary preemptive war but that's a total fabrication. It has nothing to do with preemptive war, it's just a euphemism for direct aggression...But that was the doctrine, whenever you think about it, the doctrine has been changed. With the discovery that there were no weapons of mass destruction, the doctrine has been changed so that now the United States has the right and authority, sovereign right, to attack any country that has the intent and ability to develop weapons of mass destruction. Okay. That's a significant change, that lowers the wars on aggression very significantly. And in fact, it makes it universal. Every country has the ability to develop weapons of mass destruction, any country with a high school chemistry and biology lab has the capacity. Intent is in the eye of the beholder. You don't need evidence for it. So what that's saying in effect is everybody's liable to attack. We have the sovereign right to attack anyone we want. That's a significant change in the doctrine. Even if it's not reported here, it's noticed by the potential victims, and the potential victims are now generalized - essentially universally. Another consequence of the collapse of the official reasons is that there's a new - you know, there's a new doctrine about why we went to war. It was a reflection of what the press calls our yearning for democracy. That's a term that became prominent in the Reagan years, yearning for democracy. And so we invaded Iraq in order to establish a democracy there, because our yearning for democracy, and in fact, to democratize the Middle East and so on. If you read the commentary on this, the press, journals and so on, I think you will discover that this assumption is close to universal.

David Ignatius, the highly respected leading commentator in The Washington Globe recently described the invasion of Iraq as the most idealistic war fought in modern times, fought solely to bring democracy to Iraq and the region and you know, how can you be more noble than that? He was particularly impressed with Paul Wolfowitz, the grand visionary of the yearning for democracy, who he describes as a genuine intellectual whose heart bleeds for the oppressed in the Muslim world, and who dreams of liberating it... I won't go on with it. But all of this is irrelevant because of the convenient doctrine of change of course. So, yes, he is a grand visionary who loves democracy, and his heart bleeds for the victims of oppression, and if there's a record that shows precisely the opposite, it's just that boring old stuff which we forget about, because that's now we're going on to the future.


Now, go and read the article in the post below about 'ole 'Condi'. You'll see the doctrine of change of course front and center.

Fiction in our (NY) Times 

This article , about Condolezza Rice and Pres Bush, is complete propaganda and obviously an administration leak/plant. It serves to further entrench the "doctrine of change of course" which this administration has used to perfection with respect to why we went to war with Iraq. Nevertheless, it contains some very interesting nuggets of information if read carefully.

Here's the "main idea" of the article:
"Condoleezza Rice began her relationship with George W. Bush as the foreign policy tutor who educated the little-traveled 2000 presidential candidate in the complexities of a world more dangerous than either of them knew. Now, three years, two wars and countless crises later, the relationship between the president and Ms. Rice has evolved into a partnership that has shaped one of the most assertive foreign policies in recent American history."

So you see, despite having two wars in just three years, we're not just going around carving things up for no apparent reason (other than profit and hegemony) as might appear to the outside observer. What we're really doing is called "assertive foreign policy." Let's read on....

"Ms. Rice heads into what she insists will be her last year of service in the White House."

Hmmm....I wonder if this "senior administration official" is getting out because she might have been responsible for a certain illegal, politically motivated, leak? Just a thought. Store it for later.

The article then goes on to allege that Ms. Rice has taken heat for not being able to unify the differing/warring viewpoints on foreign policy. But this "failure" is really done by design, and at the President's request, because he wants to hear all the viewpoints before he makes his decision. So you see, Bush gets all the possible facts and arguments from his staff, then makes the appropriate decision!

Now that they've got you on the ropes, here comes the bullshit:
"In short, Ms. Rice has become a germination point for Bush foreign policy...she says she has melded her realism , the view that great powers act in their own self-interest, with what she calls Mr. Bush's idealism, or what his critics say is his naive belief in a "moral" American foreign policy that can spread democracy throughout the world."


The author continues to shovel it in:
"In this equation, Ms. Rice is the unsentimental academic who focuses on facts and history, while Mr. Bush starts with a set of big-picture principles rooted in his Christian faith, along with a politician's sense about other leaders and the pressures that drive them. Ms. Rice said that she saw her job as translating the president's instincts into policy, and that he now influenced her as much as she influenced him. 'This president has a very strong anchor and compass about the direction of policy, about not just what's right and what's wrong, but what might work and what might not work,' Ms. Rice said. The president likes to focus 'on this issue of universal values and freedom,' and after Sept. 11, she said, 'I found myself seeing the value of that.'"


Is anyone else getting this? It is similar to the bullshit we were fed prior to the 2000 election that it "didn't matter" that Bush was such a moron about foreign policy because his advisors were the best. That has proven unquestionably and absolutely false. His advisors are ideologues, nothing more. Now, we're being told that with a meld between the "unsentimental academic" named 'Condi' and Bush's "moral compass" -- we're getting the best of both worlds! Talk about spin.

Next, 'ole Condi tries to dismiss the prevalent notion that Bush can be talked into anything by his trusty advisors:
"Ms. Rice is the first to say that the president does not always take her advice, and that one of the biggest misperceptions about him is that he is captive to the competing views of his foreign policy advisers. 'I don't talk the president into almost anything, all right?' Ms. Rice said. 'I just want that understood. You can't do that with the president. What you can do with the president is make your arguments.'"
Sure Condi. I don't talk small children into doing something either, I just manipulate them so that they actually think THEY made the decision.

Now lets move on to the likely unplanned leaks in the article:
About the Palestinian/Israeli situation --
"Ms. Rice has taken considerable control of the Middle East policy through Elliott Abrams, the fiercely pro-Israel director of Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council, whom Ms. Rice hired a year ago."
Could be a mistake, could be purposeful. Either way, it's is disgraceful.

About going to war with Iraq --
Richard Haass, the former director of policy planning at the State Department who is now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, recalls going to see Ms. Rice in July 2002, well before the president began making a public case for ousting Mr. Hussein, to discuss with Ms. Rice "the pros and cons" of making Iraq a priority.
'Basically she cut me off and said, `Save your breath — the president has already decided what he's going to do on this,' Mr. Haass said.


THERE IT IS! Straight from the chick with a horse's mouth -- In July of 2002 Bush & Co. had already decided that they were going to war. Let it be known that from this day forth, we will always remember that Bush had decided as early as July of 2002 to go to war.

Notice also how the article presents Bush as irritable, yet savy. He's just a simple guy, with good instincts and a "moral" compass that guides him through this dark and scary world; he's beset on all sides by advisors with differing political opinions -- with Bush making the right choice in the end!

Well gosh, the president is a lot like you out there, yes you!, the average guy who will be voting in the next election. So you see, a vote for Bush is really just a vote for you.




Oh sure, NOW you come 

Maybe I can think of some way to stay in school here for another year.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

William Saffire, the communist! 

Safire defines "competition" like some lefty-red.
"More than curiosity or altruism or even profit, what drives discovery is the spirit of competition. Whether it's unlocking a genetic code, developing a drug to cure disease or finding the key to longevity, the prospect of personal glory or national prestige propels us to risk reputation, capital and even our lives to get there first."


Why does William Saffire hate capitalism?

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

1st Amendment Alert 

"Signs for Republican candidates were allowed in the restricted area, Bursey and his witnesses said. People with tickets were screened by police and allowed inside a hangar at Columbia Metropolitan Airport to hear Bush promote S.C. Republican candidates. Secret Service agents and local police testified they told Bursey and other protesters to move to a "demonstration zone" about a half-mile from the hangar."


Free Speech Indeed.

Applause 

Even though this is political move, it's the right thing to do.

Hack Alert -- William Safire 

What I don't understand is why this guy gets to routinely appear on good programs like "This Morning" with Tim Russert. He's basically just a leak mouthpiece for the right wing (he's the moron who started all the crap about the Clinton's pushing for Wesley Clark in order to pave the way for Hillary in 2008). As I mentioned a few days ago, Tom Tomorrow is BACK and FIRING on all cylinders (this time at Safire's refusal to recant a lie about terrorists targeting Air Force One).

Monday, January 05, 2004

Hitler & Bush 

I've been saying there are parallels for some time, so this doesn't shock me at all. Neither does this, but perhaps you won't agree. (need quicktime player). The Anti-Defamation League makes a statement in response which further indicates their support for right wingers and suppression of political speech.

Just a sidenote: This whole hooplah is obviously just a ring-wing attempt to stem the effectiveness of Moveon.org's Bush ads. Why else is it making papers everywhere that this is so inappropriate, and how dare they, etc.? (I'm reminded of the "some people are attacking the president for attacking the terrorists" ads -- they make it so the avg Joe takes it personal). It is also worthwhile to note that we haven't heard any condemnations when hacks (in a nationally syndicated newspaper op-eds) say Dean is like Hitler. Why? Dean doesn't have a team of brownshirts to attack opponents. UPDATE -- The ADL shows some consistency. (I was on this before THE Atrios)

Moveon.org isn't the first to say it, the difference is they won't be fired for saying so.

What a Wonderful World -- In Support of Michael Moore 

Ober recently ran a post about a website dedicated to dispelling the "myths" of Bowling for Columbine, which, if you haven't seen it, is an amazing film that every American should see.

A little background before I begin: Immediately after my first time seeing the film I went to Moore's website and e-mailed him a question something like this: "Mr. Moore, your film is amazing. However, I am confused by the Charlton Heston scene at the end of the picture where you berate Heston for holding the gun rallies after the Michigan school shooting. I thought the point of the film was that it WASN'T the guns that made the USA so gun-violence-prone. Please explain." Needless to say, I never heard back from him.

Despite some problems with the overall goal of the film, I still feel that it is a great documentary. Moore expertly points out many of the underlying problems leading to gun violence, while exposing widely dissemintated "pop-culture explanations".

One of the most poignant points in the film is the "What a Wonderful World" montage where Moore masterfully shows the role US sponsored violence has played in the world, and to what extent it may have come home to roost in 9/11. To me, Moore actually UNDERplayed some US sponsored attrocities, but hey, it probably allowed the film to be accepted by a wider audience.

The website Ober cited (and others) have assailed Moore from many sides about the "facts" asserted in the documentary, claiming Moore is a "liar". These idiot pundits slog through unimportant minutia, then strain every analytical sinew in their bodies in an attempt to attack Moore. In the end, all they "prove" is that the makers of the site are right wing hacks.

Back to the point --> The What a Wonderful World montage is attacked as "extremely misleading and mostly flat out false." The hacks then go on to dispel Moore's montage with facts. Without further delay, lets begin. (I'll do the first two in this post and then we'll proceed to the next ones in subsequent posts).

1) 1953: U.S. overthrows Prime Minister Mossadeq of Iran. U.S. installs Shah as dictator.
Attack: "What Moore fails to mention in his two sentence summary is that Mohammed Mossadeq was a power-hungry wannabe socialist dictator who had come to power through dubious means." They proceed to say he was a communist, etc, etc, and say he wasn't "installed" by the US, rather he was merely "returned to his position" by the US. Talk about getting "Clintonesque" with definitions of terms!


2) 1963: US backs assassination of South Vietnamese President Diem.
Attack: We didn't "back" the assasination, we merely "did not do enough to prevent" it (again, more Clintonesque mincing). In truly dizzying fashion, the attackers next ADMIT that the Kennedy Administration supported the coup that overthrew Diem's regime, BUT "there is little evidence to suggest they had any interest in seeing him killed." Let me get this straight: they support Diem's coup, but had no interest is seeing Diem killed?


Both of these thinly veiled attack make absolutely no sense, yet they stop there and proceed to the next attack (to be addressed in subsequent posts).

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Blair takes Bush's sloppy seconds again... 

Link

Why isn't this bigger news? 

When the charges against Capt. James J. Yee were brought headlines everywhere boldly proclaimed that he had been using his post in Guantanamo Bay to pass highly sensitive secrets (presumably from the GB "enemy combatants") to foes abroad. Yee was imprisoned, shackled, and put in solitary confinement for 76 days.

After all, Captain Yee "was featured in news articles, with the authorities at Guantánamo eagerly showcasing him as evidence of their tolerance toward the religion of the captives there."

Now, the government has dropped all the serious charges, putting in their place silly charges: "mishandling classified information...adultery and keeping pornography on his government computer" (the first charge may not stick because the documents may not have actually been classified and the other two charges were brought in an attempt to "strengthen the initial charges").

Any ideas why no one cares about this?

Winning of hearts and minds continues.... 

I'm sure at least one of you is going to attempt to justify this treatment on the grounds of necessity. So I'll exercise the preemption doctrine here to say that beating, kicking, and smothering citizens will NOT make us any safer, but it COULD lead to exacerbation of the already rampant disease of entitlement mentality. Maybe we should start a Tort Reform push in Iraq.

"a chilling account of the treatment the eight men received once they arrived at a British interrogation centre in Basra. By a terrible coincidence, the building had formerly been the secret service headquarters of Ali Majid, Saddam's brutal cousin, known as "Chemical Ali"for his gassing of the Kurds of Halabja and later military governor of the Basra region.

"We were put in a big room with our hands tied and with bags over our heads. But I could see through some holes in my hood. Soldiers would come in - ordinary soldiers, not officers, mostly with their heads shaved but in uniform -- and they would kick us, picking on one after the other. They were kick-boxing us in the chest and between the legs and in the back. We were crying and screaming.

"They set on Baha especially, and he kept crying that he couldn't breathe in the hood. He kept asking them to take the bag off and said that he was suffocating. But they laughed at him and kicked him more. One of them said: 'Stop screaming and you'll be able to breathe more easily.' Baha was so scared. Then they increased the kicking on him and he collapsed on the floor. None of us could stand or sit because it was too painful."


They were offerred a few thousand dollars compensation, PLUS they were also given:
The Mousa family were given an international death certificate by the British Army at the Shaibah military medical centre outside Basra. It was dated 21 September, but again carried an indecipherable signature. It stated that Baha's death had been caused by "cardiorespiratory arrest:asphyxia". But the anonymous British officer who signed the document failed to fill in the column marked "due to/as a consequence of". He also failed to fill in the column marked "approximate interval between onset (of asphyxia) and death".


See the real problem? We're now spreading the disease of American "jackpot mentality". This young guy's family is told "Hey, your son was killed by out of control commandos. Here's $5,000." Then the next guy who we kick to death will have survivors with this "entitlement" mentality. Next thing you know we've got a nation of do-nothings all waiting for their government check (and they're incomplete death certificates).


Saturday, January 03, 2004

Machiavelli would be proud 

Not long ago I posted a Chomsky interview where he predicted that the current administration's reckless foreign spending was designed to reduce any and all current federal social programs. Here's a portion of his interview, followed by an article for tomorrow's New York Times proving he was right.

Chomsky:
"Their own economists have estimated the costs. They expect a $44 trillion dollar fiscal deficit—a fiscal gap of unpaid bills. And that's purposeful. When the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, was asked about this in a news conference: "Is this $44 trillion dollar figure correct? " He said, "Yeah." And that means that Congress will have to be "responsible" about Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security benefits and so on. When he says, "be responsible," he doesn't mean introduce progressive taxation to deal with the problems; he means cut [those social programs].

They can't come before the country and say, "Elect us because we want to cut back everything that benefits the general population." But, they can come before the country, they think, and say, "Because we're defending you from imminent disaster, we had to spend all this money, and there's just nothing left for all these things you'd like. We'd love to give them to you, but it's a fiscal disaster and we have to be responsible. And so you're going to have to cut back your wages and benefits and so on. And don't look at those rich people over there who are having a ball."

The results are in: Chomsky was correct, as usual.

Tomorrow's NYTimes:
"Facing a record budget deficit, Bush administration officials say they have drafted an election-year budget that will rein in the growth of domestic spending without alienating politically influential constituencies.

They said the president's proposed budget for the 2005 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, would control the rising cost of housing vouchers for the poor, require some veterans to pay more for health care, slow the growth in spending on biomedical research and merge or eliminate some job training and employment programs."


Oh, the brilliance! They spend billions on shit we don't need (a war) and there's barely a peeop from the lapdog media about the fiscal irresponsibility; and now that they've spent all the money they can eliminate all the social programs (for normal or poor Americans). THEN, when the Democrats cry foul THEY'LL be the ones accused of fiscal irresponsiblity! If these guys weren't so evil I'd be enamored with them.

Friday, January 02, 2004

MUST READ!!!! 

This article will be my only post today.

"Having failed to discover weapons of mass destruction, Washington shifted its propaganda to "establishing democracy." That flatly refutes their earlier claim that the "only question" was whether Saddam would disarm. But with a sufficiently obedient intellectual class, and loyal media, the farce can proceed untroubled. To evaluate the new propaganda claim, a rational person would ask how those who know proclaim their "yearning for democracy" have in fact acted, and act today, when their interests are at stake.
--snip--
Take Paul Wolfowitz, described by the propaganda system as the leading "visionary" seeking democracy, whose "heart bleeds" for the suffering of poor Muslims. Presumably that explains why he was one of the leading apologists for General Suharto of Indonesia, one of the great mass murderers and torturers of the modern era, and continued to praise him well into 1997, just before he was overthrown by an internal revolt. It is all too easy to continue."


More excerpts to follow......

Thursday, January 01, 2004

It has ALWAYS been about the oil 

Just in case some of you out there are still deluding yourselves into believing we care about democracy. Take a look at this article about recently declassified documents from Britain.

In response to the OPEC imbargo (which was an attempt to exert pressure on the US to stop supporting Israel's warmongering) we were strongly considering INVADING and SEIZING the oil wells in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Abu Dhabi!

What kept us from doing so? The document notes concern over a possible Soviet Union's reaction.

That oft-forgotten check to American imperialism stopped a great deal of power grabs. Now there is no Soviet Union, and no counterbalance. Is it any wonder we'll soon be carving up Syria and/or Iran?

Prediction: with the usual level of intellectual dishonesty, the American media and TV talking heads will gloss over this revelation and we won't be bothered with this unpleasantry any longer.

"Requirements" unecessary, companies will "voluntarily" comply! 

This is representative of the entire Bush/NeoCon/Moron approach to government and business. Don't force business to do anything they don't want to do (that hurts "growth"). Businesses are good, they'll do it because they care. Utter horseshit. Sometimes I wonder if Bush himself is really ignorant enough to believe it. He may be.

Remember way back when Bush took office and he immediately pulled the US out of the 158 nation Kyoto Accords? Not to worry, he said, we'll do it voluntarily!

Here's the empirical evidence: failure.

Two years after President Bush declared he could combat global warming without mandatory controls, the administration has launched a broad array of initiatives and research, yet it has had little success in recruiting companies to voluntarily curb their greenhouse gas emissions

--snip--

Only a tiny fraction of the thousands of U.S. companies with pollution problems -- 50 in all -- have joined Climate Leaders, and of the companies that have signed up, only 14 have set goals.

--snip--

the General Accounting Office, concluded in October that Bush's plan would reduce overall emissions only 2 percentage points below what the nation would achieve with no federal program whatsoever.


In true Bush Admin fashion, they continue to hold the party line despite the clear evidence to the contrary "James L. Connaughton, the White House environmental policy chief, said recently that the Bush program is working"

ARGHHHHHH!!!!



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