Thursday, February 23, 2006

Diebold Whistleblower Charged! -- Scare Tactic Case?

A word processor accused of stealing damaging documents about electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems was arraigned Tuesday on three felony counts.

Stephen Heller was charged in Los Angeles Superior Court with felony access to computer data, commercial burglary and receiving stolen property. He pleaded not guilty.

"It's a devastating allegation for a whistle-blower," said Blair Berk, Heller's attorney. "Certainly, someone who saw those documents could have reasonably believed that thousands of voters were going to be potentially disenfranchised in upcoming elections."

The charges arise from Heller's alleged disclosure two years ago of legal papers from the Los Angeles office of international law firm Jones Day, which represented Diebold at the time. Heller was under contract as a word processor at Jones Day.

The documents included legal memos from one Jones Day attorney to another regarding allegations by activists that Diebold had used uncertified voting systems in Alameda County elections beginning in 2002.

In the memos, a Jones Day attorney opined that using uncertified voting systems violated California election law and that if Diebold had employed an uncertified system, Alameda County could sue the company for breaching its $12.7-million contract.

The documents also revealed that Diebold's attorneys were exploring whether the California secretary of state had the authority to investigate the company for alleged election law violations.

...

A subsequent report by the secretary of state's office found that Diebold had marketed and sold its systems before gaining federal qualification and had installed uncertified software on election machines in 17 counties.

The company's AccuVote-TSx model was banned in May 2004, but Diebold machines were conditionally recertified by Secretary of State Bruce McPherson last week for use in 17 counties for this year's elections.

McPherson ordered Diebold to make long-term programming changes and submit the modifications to a federal panel for recertification.

...

Although state law protects whistle-blowers from retaliation by their employers, they can still be criminally prosecuted, said Tom Devine, legal director at the Washington, D.C.-based Government Accountability Project.

"It's very rare that it's successful," he said. "It's a tactic where the primary goal may be to scare other would-be whistle-blowers rather than a realistic attempt to obtain a conviction."

LA Times

The Brad Blog has a lot of links to new info on Diebold machines and more here

Meanwhile, one source of local TV News, those whom I castigate most of all, is reporting on the possibility of their county losing money if it doesn't install 'voting machines" by May.

To help the locals out, the news program and its sister station check out the backgrounds of various voting machine companies. Read at link (No registration required, and no pop up ads. It's hosted at Yahoo).

Pennsylvania must not have enough car chases to keep their local news people busy, but, hey, haven't they heard Britneyisthenewoutgirlonlynowshe'sbeingniceandlosing weightsomaybethey'llletherbackin
JessicaandNickarefightingovertheirdivorceBradandAngelinaareorarenotgettingmarried andhow'sthatbabydoing
didyouhearwhatLindseydidlastnightetcetcetc.....

Growth in Families' Wealth Stalls under Bush through recession and recovery.

Americans may feel much richer because of soaring home prices, but they're not.

U.S. families' wealth stagnated during the economy's recession and recovery from 2001 through 2004, as lackluster wage growth, sagging stock prices and rising debt levels offset the gains from higher home values, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday in its latest Survey of Consumer Finances.

...

After totaling up both sides of the ledger, the median net worth of American households rose just 1.5 percent over the three years measured, to $93,100, according to the Fed's report, which is compiled every three years to provide a portrait of family finances.


Wait though, remember this is a median net worth, but, of course CEOs are always making more increasing their net worth so the rest of us are -- you got it -- getting the shaft!

This is Dubya's recovery!


If you've ever watched what he actually does and not what he says he's much more the elitist than the down home buddy he pretends to be.

Hidden in the Business section: Maryland Planning an Escape From Electronic Voting Machines

Good for them!

As the General Assembly debates the reliability of Maryland's voting systems, a Montgomery County legislator has taken steps to ditch the state's electronic machines for the coming election and switch to paper ballots.

Del. Sheila E. Hixson , chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, wants the state to use optical scan machines. She has proposed legislative amendments to ensure that the systems can be leased in time for the September primary.

"The controversy here is about people's faith in having their vote recorded," Hixson said yesterday. "We want to make sure there's an accurate count in this election."
wp

More Time for Bush to force the Dubai Control of Ports on the Nation

This post now includes new information from LA Times and NY Times articles below. Near bottom is a link to a blog with Lou Dobb transcript showing the Carlyle connection. (Okay, I have been a big meany to TV News haven't I?)

They just have to wait for the Republicans in control of Congress to find excuses to roll over and play dead for the Bushies one more time.

The Port Authority of NY and NJ will sue - good for them!

What I really want to know was how much Bush stood to make over this deal.

Even he's not so stupid to not be involved when there is so much money exchanging hands to sell out Americans.

And notice how hard he's fighting for this.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said that in a review that was "definitely not cursory" and "definitely not casual," no national security concerns were raised by the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency or the U.S. Transportation Command that would have triggered further investigation.

Yes, in fact, lots of hands were greased, apparently.

Or maybe someone should check out who actually owns shares of DPW. I'm betting you'd see a lot of familiar names.

Another excerpt from article:
Levin asked whether any CFIUS member had discussed with the commissioners their conclusion that the United Arab Emirates had become both a valued counterterrorism ally and a persistent counterterrorism problem. None had.

And Levin asked whether any CFIUS member had talked to Clinton administration officials about their unsuccessful efforts to press the United Arab Emirates to cut its ties with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and end flights into Dubai that provided a key transit point for Taliban officials and their terrorist clients. None had.

"Is there not one agency in this government that believes this takeover could affect the national security of the United States?" Levin asked.


Wait a minute the delay deal only means they won't take control. They will work to cement the deal (and encase it in depleted uranium). Yep, typical Bush administration "My way or the highway".

From LA Times:
With a scheduled March 2 closing date for the sale of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. to Dubai Ports World, a furious effort is underway to avert a confrontation the president wants to avoid.

...

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is advising Dubai Ports World and serving as an intermediary between it and the White House, but he is not lobbying Congress on the company's behalf, said his spokesman, Mike Marshall.

Dole's wife, Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), is among those who favor delaying the deal.


Someone will be sleeping on the couch for a while we see.

and then there's this bombshell:

A committee of government officials charged with assessing whether foreign investment in the United States poses a security risk held one official meeting, though they said the panel conducted an intensive review of the deal.

I mean how much time does it really take to add up the bribes to be distributed?


From the NY Times:

Indeed, the takeover of the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company of Britain came down to a battle between two foreign, state-backed companies. One of them, DP World, is owned by Dubai's royal Maktoum family. The other, PSA, the world's second-largest port operator, is part of the Singapore government's investment arm.

The acquisition price also reflects the advantage that a number of the fastest-growing companies enjoy — their governments' deep pockets. DP World paid about 20 percent more than analysts thought the company was worth. Publicly traded companies that were potential bidders were scared off long before DP World's final offer.

Some foreign operators also have been more profitable because they are vertically integrated: they operate terminals at the export site, manage the shipping lines that transport the cargo and then operate terminals that unload the cargo at the other end, often in the United States. Such soup-to-nuts management allows these operators to cut costs, increase efficiencies on high volumes and achieve higher margins.

And think of the ease in shipping suitcase bombs. UAE could be in control on both sides of the voyage.
Though two American companies now rank eighth and ninth among the world's top 10 operators, it would not be easy for other American companies to get into the business. The retreat began decades ago amid rising labor costs and slow growth, while foreign companies spotted opportunities.


But wait a minute, the other day the Bush people assured us that Americans would really be running the ports. In other word some of us high wage, high maintenance Americans. But now the New York Times says that they'd save money by using cheaper labor. Someone's fibbing!

I just love to watch the Bush adminstration and the news media start falling all over each other in their attempts to service the business community.

So there are American companies that could do the job. It was a matter of highest bidder backed by a royal family -- the royal family that used to go hunting with bin Laden.

What are we all so worried about?

Okay here's our little port business lesson. Read it here, before our brilliant Professor Bush has to hold a press conference to teach it to you in his incredible 'accent'.

DP World, P&O or their competitors would not actually run or manage the ports in the United States.

Instead, that function belongs to port authorities, the municipal-, county- or state-controlled entities that own and operate most American ports. Companies like P&O simply lease cargo terminals from the ports, akin to a landlord-tenant relationship.


Okay now wait for it.

A terminal operator is now expected to manage where and when a ship will berth, the use of gantry cranes, relations with unionized stevedores and arrangements with trucks or rail cars to take goods to market. This is all done with specialized software intended to minimize the amount of time a ship stays in port, allowing owners to use the vessels as much as possible.


So the terminal operator (though they slipped in a new title we can assume that means DPW or formerly P&O) handles all that stuff that would be involved in smuggling something, except for the Coast Guard floating out on the water, and the Port Authority running around like Inspector Clouseau trying to find out what is really going in DPWs' terminals.

Oh, I feel better now.

How to get out of this deal, you ask? Surely you jest. Even thinking that the Republicans are actually going to oppose their guardian angel in the White House is truly wishful. Okay, I'd like to be surprised too.

"God knows how you'd reverse it," said one London-based executive involved in the sale, who did not want to be identified because of client confidentiality agreements. British regulators have approved the deal, and shareholders have already voted for it, he said.

"The Arabs own it, what are you going to do? Force them to sell it? Revoke their licenses for United States ports?" he asked.

Either of those measures might spark some sort of retaliation from Dubai in the form of legal action, he said, or even something as extreme as some sort of a restrictions on American-bound shipments passing through the port of Dubai.


In other words: "What big business has put together, let no man put asunder." according to those guys.

I guess we'll just have to stay tuned.

If you've missed it Joy-Ann Reid at the reidblog has a transcript excerpt from Lou Dobb's showing that UAE is a heavy investor in the Carlyle Group.

And the pres' bro Neil gets his spending money form the Emirates.

Curiouser and Curiouser!

More on this subject at DSRMA starts here (Includes links to Larry Johnson's blog -- Johnson was quoted in WP earlier over the port problem.)

It was Cohen's Gold?

Maybe it was Slutskaya's gold.

Why do we always emphasize the nationalism in the Olympics.

Sure Emily and Sasha are interesting people, but so are Irina and Shizuka.

Moment Gone, Along With Cohen's Gold Medal

Now the Bush administration is numbering their bu!!$#!^

The Bushies have a report on what they say they will do better next time.

And they have it all numbered this time.

This isn't like they promised they would do better after 911 and then failed to do so (and, in fact, did worse).

No, this time they have it all numbered.

That'll be the ticket!


But next year there'll be another war to manage and you know one thing or another and well, really Bush in his $3000 trench coat sure looks good, and what's Laura wearing today.

You know they really don't have time to worry about the little people. It's the fat cats that keep those campaign coffers full.

Here's an excerpt from an article on the report by Republicans on the failure over Katrina

Passivity did the most damage," concluded the report, which was written by a Republican-dominated special House committee and obtained Tuesday night by The Associated Press. "The failure of initiative cost lives, prolonged suffering, and left all Americans justifiably concerned our government is no better prepared to protect its people than it was before 9/11...


Passivity means you just don't care.

Bush and his cronies just didn't care.

You can't number that away.

More on Port problem

From former CIA guy Larry C Johnson (according to Wikipedia) No Quarter: Security Disconnect

I also recommend: No Quarter: Don't Do Dubai Dubya

Mr. Johnson is also referenced in Washington Post article I've linked below at this
post..

The second link above helps explain what he meant in that article.

Also read the comments at the two links to Johnson's blog above if you want to know more that you ever will by relying on the formal news media.

(Though newspapers as usual are filling in a lot of the blanks on the subject too.)

Mr. Rumsfeld here's some stuff on mass graves for you.

The other day Mr. Rusmfeld was wailing about how the evil press (and even worse, bloggers) were always talking about American atrocities, and all the death from the US invasion in Iraq, and asked why the press and those ultra evil terrorist bloggers (I've read a lot of blogs but never have found a real terrorist blogging so I assume he means you and I if we don't worship the ground he walks on.) and why didn't they report on Saddam's mass graves?

Well, the embarrassing point is that they haven't found the kind of mass graves in the South of Iraq that their Iraqi exile buddies told them about.

They are finding maybe 5 to 10 bodies at a spot from Saddam's doings.

The Bush administration's propaganda machine does keep promising us they are going to find one of those spots where 1000s are buried any day now.

In fact though, it turns out we have better sources of proof that there are mass graves in Iraq even in the South. Libertarian Harry Browne has written about them. I found this second hand piece of his writing.

Here ya go, Mr. Rumsfeld:

The "Mass Grave" atrocity has always puzzled me.

Why is it somehow more heinous to bury people in mass graves, rather than in individual graves?

Obviously, anyone wants his loved ones to be honored and buried in a respectable, individual grave. But it may be that the circumstances of someone'’s death— in war or in an epidemic preclude that possibility.

However, whenever George Bush utters the words "mass graves," we’re all supposed to react in horror that someone would be so sadistic as to have authorized mass graves.

But the relevant question is: why are there mass graves?

I may have dozed off once or twice, but I haven'’t heard anyone answer that question. I guess we’re supposed to assume that Saddam Hussein executed so many opponents of his regime that they had to dump all the dead bodies in huge, mass graves.

So is that what happened?

Possibly, but I haven'’t seen any proof of it. No pictures, no eye-witness accounts. Just uttering the words "mass graves" over and over like a mantra. From what we’ve seen, you'’d be hard put to believe there even are any mass graves.

But in fact they do exist some of them for certain, and several others possibly. Here are a few I'’m aware of . . .

1. In February 1991, just after the start of the brief Gulf War, there was a large fight at the "Neutral Zone" located at the Iraq-Saudi border. American troops slaughtered thousands of Iraqi soldiers, after which American earth-movers plowed the Iraqis into the ground and covered them up. Possibly thousands of Iraqis were buried in the mass graves the American military created.

2. Near the end of the 1991 Gulf War, U.S. troops slaughtered thousands of Iraqi soldiers who were retreating from Kuwait. Once again, the dead soldiers were plowed into the ground. I can only wonder what weeds will grow from those seeds.

3. One mass grave near a Baghdad palace is known to contain Iraqi soldiers who died when American soldiers stormed Baghdad.

4. When the U.S. Marines destroyed Fallujah, at least 600 Iraqis died — and most of them were buried in mass graves set up in soccer fields, called the "Graveyard of the Martyrs" by Fallujah residents.

Those four sets of mass graves have been documented. But (to the best of my knowledge) they haven't been shown on TV probably because it was the U.S. military that created them. There may be other mass graves as well. For example . . .


Read rest at:Saddam's Mass Graves?

Now that Saddam killed a lot of people in the South as well as in the North is still a given in our society, though much of it comes from those same people that can't lead us to the mass graves they tell us about.

Under the assumption that those mass graves were there, I decided earlier in the war period to find out all I could about who had helped put those people in those graves. I found out that some of the people who did so are in the US and could be picked up for war crimes.

Here's a page, created earlier apparently, on the subject (complete with links to validating sources).

More Harry Browne on Iraq I haven't read this all the way through. What I've read though is a very good analysis.

Don't you just love the lawyer talk on Libby

and Washington Post just passes it all on, again, and again. Really, I'm sure I read a report saying the same thing in the last month or two. Okay, maybe there's a few new words about the lawyers requesting classified documents.

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff was so consumed with pressing national security concerns in 2003 and 2004 that he undoubtedly forgot details of conversations he had about undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, his defense lawyers argue in new court filings.

Attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby insist they need hundreds of pages of classified daily briefings prepared for President Bush to show that Libby did not intentionally lie about discussing Plame with reporters, as prosecutors allege. They contend that he was preoccupied with more serious matters when the conversations took place and when investigators questioned him months later.


Libby talked to Judith Miller between June 15 and Jun 30, 2003 IIRC from earlier reports. This blew up as a scandal in mid July 2003 right after Robert Novak reported the classified information to the public on July 14.

Immediately people, even Congresspeople, were noting that this might endanger our nation (as it did) and expose thousands of agents to capture and/or death (which it may have done). There were calls for an investigation right away.

It was not a matter of months, but of 2 weeks. I'd like Mr. Libby to show how in those 2 weeks of being Cheney's house cat, he protected Americans.


I very much doubt he could do that even with all those 'classified' notes he wants.

And, if Libby could not remember what he had done 2 weeks to a month before, maybe he shouldn't have been in the position he was in. Once an investigation was threatend over something that he knew he was involved in broke, he should have gathered up his notes and went over them.

Right now he's trying the Reagan defense: "I'm too stupid to remember what I've done".

S.D. Abortion Bill Takes Aim at 'Roe'

South Dakota lawmakers yesterday approved the nation's most far-reaching ban on abortion, setting the stage for new legal challenges that its supporters say they hope lead to an overturning of Roe v. Wade .

The measure, which passed the state Senate 23 to 12, makes it a felony for doctors to perform any abortion, except to save the life of a pregnant woman. The proposal still must be signed by Gov. Mike Rounds (R), who opposes abortion.


Funny how some of us said this would happen when they got their majority.

Men and women given 23 years of slavery for sex.

Also, if you have been listening to the pro-life people, you know that they are going after the birth control pill next.

This is not about being pro-life, but pro-big business (though most of the pro-life protestors don't even realize that. They only know that if they didn't get paid for ranting about pro-life issues they'd probably have to go work for Mickie Ds for a living.)

This is about making a big slave labor class to drag down people's wages.


I think it is especially insulting to the Lord to do big business' bidding in His name though. I suspect He does too.

Cartoon: Being disrespectful to a leader of violent fanatics

Cartoon: White House Censoring NASA

Cartoon: Bush on Alternative Energy

Cartoon: The hunting party

Sorry to see Townsend go over to the dark side.

WP report shows she only gives mild criticism to the Bush administration response to Katrina. BTW, I wonder if that supposed to come out now or was it pushed to the front because of recent controversies - the port scandal and the civil war in Iraq becoming evident).

"the response to Hurricane Katrina fell far short of the seamless, coordinated effort that had been envisioned by President Bush when he ordered the creation of a National Response Plan in February 2003,"


Ms. Townsend, that's because the kind of effort needed by the leader of the free world is not 'envisioning' it's pushing. Pushing, pushing, and pushing some more until things are done right.

That's why Clinton's FEMA worked.


That's how the Clinton administration stopped 6 attacks that could have been as bad as 911.

Is the little Emperor going to sit back and envision some more this year?

Now that he's got Townsend there to do the slaving I'm supposing that he thinks that'll work. Maybe, taking the place of Condi (in real terms though she's been given an much lower status), she can do something before she's worn out or demands to be put a higher position. Or maybe she'll go on being another cog in his propaganda machine. I guess the hurricane season will tell. Or the other next big disaster.

Can a person without the authority of the presidency (or in this case the real presidencies of Cheney, Rove, and Rumsfeld) do that necessary constant pushing for results effectively? Because what we've seen is that neither faux president Bush nor the real ones really care what happens to you or I. They've got a nation to sell off bit by bit to the highest bidders -- apparently unconcerned whether those bidders are even Americans or not.

Talking About Racism

A decision two weeks ago by a U.S. consulate in India to refuse a visa to a prominent Indian scientist has triggered heated protests in that country and set off a major diplomatic flap on the eve of President Bush's first visit to India.

The incident has also caused embarrassment at the highest reaches of the American scientific establishment, which has worked to get the State Department to issue a visa to Goverdhan Mehta, who said the U.S. consulate in the south Indian city of Chennai told him that his expertise in chemistry was deemed a threat.


The Bush administration just proved one of my points about how racist the West is. (See post directly below for details).

Sorry to say Msr. Bennett, Dershowitz, I'll be reading the American papers

and less of their works in the future.

The cartoon episode was just the tip of the iceberg of racism in Europe. Possibly it's no more than the US, probably less, but in this case it showed the immense racism still intact in the Great White West.

Jewish people know it, blacks know it, Hispanics know it.

I'm sure that not only Muslims (and the aforementioned above) know it in Europe, but also immigrants of Indian descent know it too.

How else could the West have justified the illegal invasion of Iraq either by joining in or by not starting war crimes tribunals and picking up the leaders of the nations that participated in the invasion -- as they paraded around like God's emissaries --- and putting them on trial ala Nuremberg.


Any other time the right wingers are pretending that Europes' racism is worse than that found in the US. Now that they get to join in the racism they are bashing the "American press" for not doing so itself.

Really, Msr. Bennett, Dershowitz, get yourself a blog, copy the d@#$ cartoons and publish them yourself. Prove you're a racist. The freedom is there. Just do it.

BTW, the article makes an issue of Dershowitz' liberalism. But many of the things he's said don't sound that liberal. Really Dershowitz is more someone who plays a liberal on TV.

And Flemming Rose can make all the excuses he wants. He's still a racist. Lets see what I can do with his mug in a cartoon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More details arise of port deal

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

Therefore, though:
As part of the $6.8 billion purchase, state-owned Dubai Ports World agreed to reveal records on demand about "foreign operational direction" of its business at U.S. ports, the documents said. Those records broadly include details about the design, maintenance or operation of ports and equipment.


It looks to me, like the names of those who have gotten visas through the Dubai company would not have to be revealed. See post below for more on that.

From: Arab Co., White House Had Secret Agreement

And reading the article we see all the same people who pushed for the Iraq war -- except for some balking Republicans in Congress who will soon cave -- are pushing for this port deal.

More on Port problem starts in post immediately below. You've probably noticed that, I know.

Don't You Worry about Dubai Owning Port Facilities

Just because
some of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks used the UAE as a financial and operational base

and
It was also alleged to have been a transfer point for nuclear components smuggled to Korea and Libya by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

[Bush] insisted US authorities would remain in control of security at the six ports - Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia - and that there was no difference between a British and a UAE firm owning the port operations.


Ah, New Orleans. New Orleans is the port on which the whole of the MidWest gets its fuel and imports and through which its exports leave. The terrorists would love to get that one.

The hurricane didn't affect the ports usage very much because it's a through-port not an offloading port, but a nice dirty bomb would do a fantastic job on the US economy and MidWest livelihoods.

There are also accusations of cronyism. David Sanborn, a former Dubai Ports executive, was appointed as head of maritime administration in the transportation department...

...

Larry Johnson, a former counterterrorism official at the CIA and the state department, and now a private security consultant, said the UAE had a poor record of security: "Their ports are some of the biggest smuggling centres in the world."

All excerpts above from:
UK Guardian

A radio source noted that though the Coast Guard would be floating around in the harbors, they really can't see what is going on in the terminals, unless they get lucky.

Also read Washington Post's "Republicans Split with Bush on Ports" especially the back pages where the most important information is. (BTW, anyone notice that the Post can no longer blame one side without blaming the other. Then again they haven't come up with a Democratic scandal lately. I guess we'd see it flip again when that happens.)

Easter Eggs from the WP piece:
Bush and Treasury Secretary John W. Snow were unaware until this week about the purchase agreement and the administration's approval of the transaction last month.

Snow, whose department chairs the secretive executive branch panel that reviewed the proposed sale, told reporters in Torrington, Conn., that "I learned of this transaction probably the same way as members of the Senate did, by reading it in the newspapers."

Scores of lawmakers have complained that the transaction was not sufficiently scrutinized. Some lawmakers said Snow's comments reinforced the image of a quick and easy approval process.

...

Foreign-owned companies including a Chinese operation have controlled terminals at various U.S. ports for years -- and lawmakers have rarely complained.


And the last American landmark that some Chinese people have blown up is ...?

I mean really we aren't even talking about Chinese terrorism are we? Is there any?

Joseph King, who headed the customs agency's anti-terrorism efforts under the Treasury Department and the new Department of Homeland Security, said national security fears are well grounded.

He said a company the size of Dubai Ports World would be able to get hundreds of visas to relocate managers and other employees to the United States. Using appeals to Muslim solidarity or threats of violence, al-Qaeda operatives could force low-level managers to provide some of those visas to al-Qaeda sympathizers, said King, who for years tracked similar efforts by organized crime to infiltrate ports in New York and New Jersey. Those sympathizers could obtain legitimate driver's licenses, work permits and mortgages that could then be used by terrorist operatives.

Dubai Ports World could also offer a simple conduit for wire transfers to terrorist operatives in the Middle East. Large wire transfers from individuals would quickly attract federal scrutiny, but such transfers, buried in the dozens of wire transfers a day from Dubai Ports World's operations in the United States to the Middle East would go undetected, King said.

But Robert C. Bonner, a former top U.S. customs official, said that the security concerns surrounding the purchase agreement have been "greatly exaggerated."

"The reality is the major terminal operators are all foreign-owned," Bonner said. "This one happens to be owned by Dubai, but Dubai . . . has been very supportive in the counterterrorism efforts."


Oh really?

Remember this revelation from the 911 commission hearings?

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency's director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.

The 10-member bipartisan commission is investigating the events leading up to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.
Rediff

Has Bush lost his touch?

Has Bush lost his way politically - or at least his touch?

"In regards to selling American ports to the United Arab Emirates, not just NO - but HELL NO," conservative Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., wrote Bush in a terse letter on Wednesday that she also posted on her Web site.

At issue: Bush's strong defense of an arrangement that would put a government-owned United Arab Emirates company in charge of major shipping operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

...

"It's a strange thing for Bush to have slipped into, given the savvy you expected from this administration, with a vice president who spent over a decade on Capitol Hill," said Princeton University political scientist Fred Greenstein. "It seems as if his people would have seen that there was potential for trouble, and at least done their homework on the Hill."


Somehow these reporters haven't noticed the arrogance of the Bush administration, their philosophy of "my way or the highway"?

You'd think they'd at least notice the Bushies' confidence that they could propagandize out of anything, though few news sources have noticed that Bush has lost that ratings bounce he supposedly got from making a campaign for his warrantless wiretapping. The numbers went down again in February, that's why you didn't hear about Bush's poll numbers this month.

Seattle PI

Bush and his poor attempts at propaganda move to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Really little boy. Every one else but you does your propaganda better. Give it a rest.

The appearance came one day after the administration moved to defuse tensions over job cuts at the lab.

The 32 layoffs this month included eight researchers working on many of the alternative forms of energy Bush came here to champion. But on Monday, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman announced that $5 million would be transferred from another government account to bring the workers back -- and avoid an untimely political embarrassment for Bush.


Bush doing his own propaganda:
The president opened his remarks by saying he wanted to clear up "mixed signals" about the administration's commitment to the lab and its research. "The issue, of course, is whether good intentions are met with actual dollars spent," he said. "I think we have cleared up the discrepancy."

Another person handling it:
"The action we are taking today will allow the dedicated employees at NREL to continue their work that will bring us great innovation in renewable energy technologies," Bodman said in a statement released less than 24 hours before Bush toured the research lab.


Better is:
"I have spent a lot of time worrying about the impact of being addicted to oil, particularly from the parts of the world where people might not agree with our policy or way of life," Bush said, noting the irony of a former Texas oilman making such statements.
The last paragraph would be fine, if it weren't coming from Bush who is the puppet for those who just throw massive amounts of money at campaign contributors in place of real action on anything.

The sacharine emoting could be dropped too.

What's Not Talked About on Sunday Morning?

Issues of corporate power are not on the agenda

And this has been going on for a long time as shown by report at FAIR

Excerpt:
In sum, over the entire study period, topics related to corporate power—the environment, corporate crime, labor, mergers, consumer rights, corporate welfare, national health care, etc—made up less than 4 percent of the shows’ discussion topics.

Remarkable homogeneity

An overwhelming majority of invited guests on the shows were lawmakers, government officials and politicians—a skew that tends to reinforce narrow parameters of discussion and exclude issues of corporate power. Except for presidential candidate Ralph Nader, not a single one of the 364 guests invited during the 19 months studied was an environmentalist or consumer advocate. John Sweeney and Thomas Donahue, candidates for the presidency of the AFL-CIO, were the only guests who were labor leaders. Instead of worker representatives, the shows invited the CEO of United Airlines, the CEO of Continental Airlines, a Goldman Sachs analyst, retired basketball stars and political satirists.

So When is the FBI Going to Pick up the White Boy Terrorists?

BLM biologists forced to become "biostitudes" . As agency diverts money for wildlife maintenance, species populations plummet.

Recent studies of mule deer and sage grouse...show steep declines in their numbers since the gas boom began here about five years ago: a 46 percent decline for mule deer and a 51 percent decline for breeding male sage grouse. Early results from a study of pronghorn antelope show that they, too, avoid the gas fields.

Yet as these findings have come in, the wildlife biologists in the Pinedale office of the BLM have rarely gone into the field to monitor harm to wildlife.

"The BLM is pushing the biologists to be what I call 'biostitutes,' rather than allow them to be experts in the wildlife they are supposed to be managing," said Steve Belinda, 37, who last week quit his job as one of three wildlife biologists in the BLM's Pinedale office because he said he was required to spend nearly all his time working on drilling requests. "They are telling us that if it is not energy-related, you are not working on it."

Belinda, who had worked for 16 years as a wildlife biologist for the BLM and the Forest Service, said he came to work in the agency's Pinedale office 20 months ago because of the "world-class wildlife." He has quit to work here for a national conservation group, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, as its energy initiative manager.

"It is a huge attraction for biologists to work in western Wyoming," he said. "But in this [BLM] office, they want you to look at things in a single-minded way. I have spent less than 1 percent of my time in the field. If we continue down this trend of keeping biologists in the office and preventing them from doing substantive work, there is a train wreck coming for wildlife."
wp

And read this amazing doublespeak:

"If a wildlife biologist is working on an application for a permit to drill, that doesn't mean he is not doing wildlife work," [BLM's Wyoming director, Bob] Bennett said. "The wildlife job is a broad job, and it does involve energy.


Yeah, sure buddy. I bet you're on a first name basis with the boy emperor.

Article is a must read, especially the second page which is where many news sources hide the really good stuff. (Apparently right wingers can't get past the first page so it's safer to hide incriminating facts back there. Well, do you have a better explanation?)

Environmental impact reports being done by the companies that want to drill in the region.

Washington pushing all the drilling expansion.

Even a former Big Oil executive is calling for a slow down.

Better not lay down in front of a bulldozer, Sir. Big business, especially Big Oil, rules this nation.

Just get the H#!! out of their way.

Bush Backer Radio Shack CEO Quits After Bible College Degrees on Resume Questioned

Edmondson's troubles began last Tuesday when errors in his resume were reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The company's board said it stood behind its CEO, a decision Roberts said he now regrets.

On Wednesday, Edmondson said he took responsibility for the errors. Separately, RadioShack said it would hire outside lawyers to investigate errors in Edmondson's resume, including claims that he earned two college degrees for which the school he attended has no records.

That investigation won't continue since Edmondson quit, the company said. Edmondson, 46, joined RadioShack in 1994 and had been CEO since May.

Edmondson had claimed that he received degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California, which moved in 1998 to Oklahoma and renamed itself Heartland Baptist Bible College.

The school's registrar told the Star-Telegram that records showed Edmondson completed only two semesters and that the school never offered degrees in psychology. The school official declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Edmondson said last Wednesday he believes that he received a theology diploma called a ThG, but not the four-year bachelor of science degree listed on his resume. He could not document the ThG diploma.

Roberts said company background checks did not include academic verification in 1994 as it does today.

Roberts said Edmondson's severance package will be less than $1 million in a cash payout, but said more details will be released Tuesday in a regulatory filing.

The move did not surprise Stacey Widlitz, analyst for Fulcrum Global Partners LLC, though she didn't think the change would come on a public holiday, as it did, when financial markets were closed.

"If you think about his tenure, it's not as if he's led a turnaround of this company," she said. "That being said, it would be difficult for the board, considering the things that have come out, to find a reason to keep him."

The company has since removed biographical sketches of its executives, including Babrowski, and replaced it with the following statement: "We are currently updating and validating all of the biographical information for each of our senior executives."

For now, it will be Babrowski's job to lead a turnaround that begins with closing 400 to 700 stores and two distribution centers as part of a campaign to fix its financial performance.
RadioShack CEO Quits Amid Resume Questions

Checking opensecrets.org we find that in the last few years Edmondson gave only to "Radio Shack" I'm thinking that's a PAC (people don't really give to their companies do they?), but in earlier years a donation to a George W. Bush becomes apparent.

I do not mean to denigrate the Bible college he attended which seems to have been honest about this. Unfortunately though, some people who pretend they are more moral than others are actually less moral. They hide behind their 'religiosity'.

Press Can Be Prosecuted for Having Secret Files, U.S. Says

The Bush administration said that journalists can be prosecuted under current espionage laws for receiving and publishing classified information but that such a step "would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly," according to a court filing made public this week.

"There plainly is no exemption in the statutes for the press...

...

Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, who first disclosed the government filing on his Web site, http://www.fas.org/sgp , said yesterday, "The idea that the government can penalize the receipt of proscribed information, and not just its unauthorized disclosure, is one that characterizes authoritarian societies, not mature democracies."


But wait, there's more.

The self serving little Bushites wrote in their filing
..we recognize that a prosecution under the espionage laws of an actual member of the press for publishing classified information leaked to it by a government source, would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly, indeed, the fact that there has never been such a prosecution speaks for itself."
as if they are a real democratically elected American government. As if they don't plan to do the same in the future if their manipulation of the press through big business coercion doesn't work.

Of course, taking action on the press would never pass the courts -- unless they'd just installed a very grateful man who had only been a judge for 4 years now as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and had switched out Sandra Day O'Connor for a little right-wing weasel ready to do their every bidding.

Will the Republicans that control Congress help us? Don't hold your breath.


Richard Cohen Tells us Why this Matters

In China keywords on websites will get you investigated. In the US keywords on websites, in phone calls will get you investigated.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ABC's Recent 'Scoop' on Proof of Saddam's WMDs was Disinformation

Funny, I had read the headline of the ABC program, started reading the article they had on their website, found out it was about Hussein Kamel and clicked away, myself.

But the FAIR article on the dishonest report showed me that it's not enough to know the truth, you need to spread that knowledge because Americans get little enough of it.

Well, not only was ABC's report on Saddam having WMDs a bit of skuduggerous BS, it also wasn't a scoop.

It was Newsweek's scoop in 2003 a full 3 years earlier. And Newsweek had the decency to admit that all those poisons were destroyed when the inspections first started.

I remember reporting on it for another blog I had at the time.

Kamel defected from Iraq in 1995, and talked at great length with U.N. weapons inspectors and the CIA about Iraq's unconventional weapons programs. He revealed at that time that Iraq's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs had been more advanced than the Saddam Hussein regime had admitted to the inspectors. Kamel publicly revealed the concealment of WMD-related activities in an interview with CNN (9/21/95): "The order was to hide much of it from the start, and we hid a lot of that information. These were not individual acts of concealment, but were as a result of direct orders from the top." So the fact that Saddam Hussein was attempting to deceive the weapons inspectors, as in ABC's tape, is hardly news more than 10 years later.

But ABC's story does not include what was arguably Kamel's more important revelation, which was that Iraq had destroyed its stocks of usable unconventional weapons. "Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction," he told CNN in 1995. He told the same story to U.N. and U.S. officials, saying that by destroying the weapons in the summer of 1991, Saddam Hussein hoped to conceal how far Iraq had gotten in developing weapons, with the intent of restarting these programs after the inspection regime was ended.


The FAIR article goes on with examples of how the Bush administration used one part of Kamel's testimony to make a case for war while ignoring the rest.

Of course the Bush people and their rabid followers were big on the idea that Hussein would want to resume creating WMDs after the inspections stopped (or alternatively they used "when the sanctions are lifted" thinking you're too stupid to realize that lifting the sanctions and removing inspectors could possibly take place at 2 different times).

Indeed, UN officials made it clear that though it was their desire to relieve the people of Iraq from the onerous sanctions, they never had planned to remove the inspectors as long as Saddam or his sons were in power.

Another ploy of the right wing is to pretend that the UN inspectors were running around in the desert like Inpector Clouseau, with nothing but magnifying glasses and silly disguises.

In fact, the UNMOVIC inspectors that went into Iraq in December 2002 and worked until just before Bush started the Shock and Awe, had high tech sensors for gases, radiation, chemicals. They were there on the ground, but also had pictorial help from satellites high above.

Imagine. We could have contained Saddam at a much lower cost than the half trillion dollars we are looking at now, and we could have done it without killing a quarter million Iraqis. (A British medical journal reported on a study that found the invasion of Iraq had killed 100,000 as of the summer of 2004 and not counting the first Fallujan massacre.) Since, the killing in that poor nation has only escalated since then and estimating the killed in the two massacres in Fallujah, I feel a quarter million is a safe guess as to how many citizens of Iraq would be alive if we hadn't opted for aggressive warfare on their country.

FAIR: Missing From ABC's WMD 'Scoop'

Good for Egypt.

Egypt rejected U.S. efforts Tuesday to win international support for a clampdown on aid to the Palestinian Authority when Hamas ministers take power, arguing that the radical Islamic group should be given time to accept Israel.

"I'm sure that Hamas will develop, will evolve. We should not prejudge the issue," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters at a news conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who arrived here on the first leg of a Middle East tour to line up support for the U.S. position.

Egypt does not provide much aid to the Palestinians but has broad influence in the Arab world on Israeli-Palestinian issues, so the rebuff could hamper Rice's efforts to build a united front against the rise of Hamas.


What is democracy anyway, people choosing the leaders that they want or people chosing the leaders that we want?

Mary Matalin: First Cheney Statement for Press Did Not Admit He Was Shooter

Excerpt of Editor and Publisher article:
Buried in the Time cover story, however, was one brain-teaser that could fuel more speculation, as it contradicts earlier explanations that Cheney wanted to get the full story out, he was just a bit tardy about it. The passage reads:

"At about 8 a.m. Sunday, a Cheney aide called strategist Mary Matalin, who regularly advises the Vice President. The aide read her a statement about the accident that Cheney had considered releasing before he decided to encourage Armstrong to go to the (Corpus Christi) Caller-Times.

"But the statement 'didn't say much of anything,' Matalin says—not even that Cheney was the shooter. Matalin then spoke with a second aide and with Cheney's family and heard different versions of what had happened in the shooting. She decided no statement should be released amid the confusion. Matalin spoke with Cheney, and, she says, they agreed that 'a fuller accounting, with an eyewitness,' would be preferable."

Time also reports a poll showing that almost two-thirds of Americans (65%) think Cheney should have taken immediate responsibility for the shooting incident. His approval rating stands at 29%; President Bush's approval rating is 40%.

Editor & Publisher

A lot of us have already figured out that Cheney was at least a little tipsy when he shot Harry Whittington, but as a lawyer Alan Dershowitz says it's the best the excuse for the long delay before making a statement on the incident.
Why would a media-savvy and clever man like
Dick Cheney delay notifying the press and the police about an accident when a) he knew it would eventually be covered by the press and b) he knew he would be criticized for delaying release of the story? A simple cost/benefit analysis suggests that he (or those advising him) must have believed that there was more to be gained than lost by a 14 hour delay that would eventually be made public. It is likely, therefore, that something happened during that 14 hour period which was worth the negative costs of the delay.

What is the most likely thing to happen during a 14 hour delay that is worth the negative publicity? One possibility is that it takes approximately that period of time for alcohol to dissipate in the body and no longer be subject to accurate testing. It is fairly common for people involved in alcohol-related accidents to delay reporting them until the alcohol has left the body. There is no hard evidence that this is what happened here, but we are entitled to a better explanation...

Alan Dershowitz: Dick Cheney's Delay

Cartoon: Detroit Needs the Cliff Notes Version

Cartoon: Impeachment Insurance

George Soros being Swift Boated by Free Enterpise Fund

Chris Cilliza has the Lowdown on that.

Earmarks Became Contractor's Business

I have seen other reports that provide more info on the Brent Wilke's businesses and contributions.

I believe they should be read along with the Washington Post report.


The first one, from the San Diego Tribune shows how Wilkes was awarded contracts for work the Pentagon didn't even want done! The Defense Department had their own facilities for doing the work (I see in skimming the article at the SDT they point out a contract worth 3.9 million dollars.)

I've seen higher numbers. In fact I've seen a report that said nearly $800 million US taxpayer dollars was spent betweens Wilkes and another contractor that wasn't needed or involved software that the Defense Department found defective.

$800 million. Boy, what we could do with that money back. Rebuilding New Orleans comes to mind right away.

Notice in the SDT that other representatives besides Cunningham or even Hunter were paid off too, but they won't release the names. That's our news media.

Here's more on the controversy from the Huffington Post

And Cannonfire has more on the the companies involved here and here.

Supreme Court to Consider Law Banning 'Late-Term' Abortions

Isn't this exactly what our friends, the Republicans, promised us would not happen?

I know that's the conception that the news media gave us.

Ha ha! The joke's on you if you believe what Republicans and the corporate news media say anymore


The Supreme Court, stocked with two new conservative justices, agreed today to consider the constitutionality of the federal law banning "late-term" abortions.

The "partial-birth abortion" ban, enacted in 2003, has been invalidated by three different federal appeals courts on the grounds that the ban did not include an exception for cases when the health of the mother might be at stake and constituted an undue burden on the right to abortion.


Forget "the health of the mother"! Full speed ahead!

The got their three year judge for Top Justice and their weasle of a nanny's boy to clinch the deal.

They will put women and men into slavery for 23 years.

Now they are trying to get birth control pills banned too!

Americans upset in 1500

Actually, in the Olympics. I live for 'upsets'.

Skating in front of a rabid home crowd, Enrico Fabris of Italy won the gold medal in men's 1,500-meter speedskating Tuesday, dropping American rivals Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick to silver and bronze.

More happy war news from Tom Ricks

I;ve put this post off for long enough. I've read each of Rick's articles I've encountered, and except for the first one at the Washington Post they read like a Karl Rove special as done by a military man interviewing other military folks.


Googling Ricks we find that Ricks' is probably a former marine. (A book by one Thomas E. Ricks at Amazon.com makes me think that). Most newspapers have bios on their writers or at least a blurb at the bottom showing the writer's expertise. That blurb or the bio will also show their biases sometimes. Those seem to have disappeared at WP. Instead you get to email to nothingness.

But Mr. Ricks sure has been presenting the happy news on the Iraq war laterly. The kinder gentler view of killing a quarter million people in that beleaguered country.

Ricks apparently started writing at the WP in January 2006 according to a search on his name. And boy has his stuff shown us that we've really turned a corner in Iraq.

We're everyone's best buddies over there.

Either that or Ricks is a embed -- A propaganda meister for the US military.

I understand the pressure on the news media from the hard core right wingers. The ones with power constantly threaten the livelihoods of everyone from the publisher down to the writers. But someone has to stand up for what's right sometime. And Ricks' reporting is getting just silly with happy news.

Maybe he should be doing the society pages or entertainment. Advertising might be good too.

Like the current report, Ricks' reporting does not show indications that he is doing anything other than taking notes from US military propaganda people. (That's why I call him an 'embed' though he's obviously not in Iraq). I'm wondering if he isn't a member of the armed forces still.

Reports from others who show signs that they were on the scene in Iraq showed a very different side if only in sly notes stuffed in the center of their reports.

Rummy called for new propaganda on everything, and I said the other day that we need to stay in Iraq until the propaganda that Bush won that war can be forced into the minds of Americans.

I think Ricks' writing shows that the push has already started.

WP used to have some really good articles on what was happening in Iraq.

What the H#!! went wrong?

Frist wants Dubai ports deal put on hold

Watch this one. The Republicans often make up bills to give the appearance of doing something the public wants, and then quietly kill them later.

"If the administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review," Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said in a statement.

Cannot? Look at the 'kitten killer' carry the Bushies water. If the US government couldn't stop the pact, then neither could the Congress. It is a matter of will. They can, but they won't.

I also note that Frist said 'put on hold' until blah blah blah. (Until the propaganda that Bushco is keeping us safe can be passed by the news media which is putty in the hands of the thought Nazis behind the Republicans until it's impregnated into the minds of Americans.)

Propaganda seems to be all the Republicans have anymore.

U.S. Envoy in Iraq Accuses Iran Of Assisting Militias, Insurgents

The Drum drum drum drum beat for war on Iran.

It's not the Bushies fault we're stuck in quicksand in Iraq, no it's Irans!

Let's go get 'em.

Wait a minute, folks.


Lets go over some facts about the possibility of a war on Iran.

Iran has a real army, not a bunch of scared conscripts pushed into battle by relatives of the supreme ruler.

Iran does have WMDs.

Estimates on how many of our own troops might die if we invade Iran are a quarter million.

The upper limit of 'draft age' has been raised to 35 during the Bush administration.

In 2004, Bush ordered the Selective Service to preform tests to show it was able to start up a draft withing 75 days.

Rep. Nick Smith (R now retired) and Chuck Weldon sponsored a bill in December 2001 to start up a draft of all young men and women to train and prepare them for war. Yes, Democrats introduced dummy draft bills in 2003, but those were just attempts to get American citizens to wake up to what war could bring. They also knew that a bill introduced by a Democrat into the Republican controlled Congress has about a snowman's chance in Tucson in July.

As the army is currently run, women in Iraq are dying in an attempt to avoid rape. The last commander of all the forces in Iraq, when told of the massive rape problem and the deaths that have ensued said basically it wasn't his problem. Vermont Guardian

Experts agree that the US cannot engage in further military action of any size without a draft.

Better do something substantial starting now about this drumbeat to a new war.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Cartoon: It was just a suggestion

Racial Tensions in Los Angeles Jails mostly a result of over-immigration

Bloods and Crips hanging together?

There is something seriously wrong in California.


(Okay that's just a joke!)

But read this excerpt:

On a recent evening, Deputy Tim Brennan, a patrol officer who has worked the streets of Compton for more than two decades, stopped two members of warring black gangs, the Bloods and the Crips, riding in one car. "What are you doing?" Brennan asked, clearly surprised to see the two men -- one wearing red, the other blue -- in the same vehicle. "Going to get the Mexicans?"

Everyone laughed uneasily.


Okay, let a local tell you about this.

True many of our Latinos are bonafide Americans, so we don't call them immigrants, though as many point out few societies give immigrants the special favors of allowing their children to become citizens just by being born here.

Still no one is blaming the Latino citizens in LA. As always, the incredible tidal wave of illegal immigrants since Bush took office hit L.A. first. We are the example.

The real reason is not just that Blacks and American Latinos can't get along, but that we've had whole waves and waves of immigrants dumped on our city.

First, they got all the dishwashing and busing jobs in restaurants, jobs that could pull a person through a rough spot in life or college. For a short spell it could even help a family. Well, it was just dishwashing and busing.

But then they started taking over all the gardening and landscaping jobs again supposedly things the rest of us wouldn't do. Except those who needed those kind of jobs at some kind of reasonable wage.

Then they started taking over the factory jobs, jobs Americans were working at, but the factory owners saw an opportunity to lower wages and destroy unions. About the same time they started taking over the janitorial and cleaning jobs.

A report published in the Los Angeles times showed that in the first decade of the immigrant take over of janitorial jobs that wages in those careers fell 40%. Suddenly a possible lower rung on a ladder up was no more. During all this time the cost of housing was continually outstripping all most other kinds of inflation.

Then they started taking all the construction jobs.

Neither American Latinos, nor American blacks can get those jobs unless they like getting little better than minimum wage while raising a family at normal standards requires a wage that is at least 5 times as high as minimum.

Immigrants often live 20 people to a one bedroom which not only endangers their health, but also the health of the poor citizens that live nearby. People who've lived in such neighborhoods know this is not 'extended family', but groups of families.

I've talked to former construction workers this morning. They said the wages were great for a young person with muscles to get through college or start a family. If a person worked hard they could work up to a forman or manager's position or move on to other kinds of higher paying jobs after a while. Costruction jobs were not jobs no one wanted at any time. The wages are degraded now, and of course will become even more so as the contractors find they can use their illegal immigrants like slaves. But many people are finding deep faults in their new constructions. But keep believing the news media about how wonderful this all is.

The rest of country better look at Los Angeles. Our gangs are legendary. Our crime is legendary. Our problems in affording housing legendary. Well, we were the first world-class city to receive the complete dump of Mexican and South American immigrants.

I don't know if you can expect bloods and crips now to go work those jobs that have been so degraded by the overpopulation of our area.

There was a time, though, when we had a choice (not us here in LA, but our nation). We could have ensured that everyone here in our nation got a decent job or we could let our government allow millions of illegals and other immigrants to take the jobs and flood the housing. There was a time when we could have paid attention to what the Republicans were doing -- talking tough on immigration while behind the scenes dropping bills that would cut down on the flow.

Bob Dole is my favorite hypocrite. As Majority leader of the Senate he tabled a bill to create a voluntary database of legal American workers in Feb 1996 IIRC just about a decade ago. Then he quit and went on the presidential campaign trail wailing about the flood of illegal immigrants in our nation.

The Republican controlled Congress did cut out some of the benefits for illegal immigrants, but then they voted them back in after Bush took the White House. I bet they didn't send you a letter informing you of that did they?

The rest of the nation better take lessons from Los Angeles. You think your kids, your job, and your peace of mind won't be harmed if you let the government flood your area with cheap immigrant labor?

Take a look at Los Angeles. We're the test case.

If you'd love to live in L.A. (without the opportunities for fame that we have) then go ahead and ignore the tidal wave of illegal immigration or believe that Republicans are going to help you.


I've found that when us ordinary people are upset in large numbers the Democrats do what they can to change things. Republicans create bills that they don't allow to go anywhere.

I'd rather have real action than faux action. Behind the scenes working rather than propaganda.

That's why I favor the Democrats if you must know.

On immigration. It will be taken care of when we tell the Democrats in charge that we demand it be taken care of.

Of course, then the Democrats have to be in charge of something on the federal level for that to happen.

It up to us to put them in charge.

Cartoon: Wiretapping Congress

Cartoon: If you can't beat 'em

The Clintons fed some donors

Cartoon: Uncle Sam Has Trouble with his Scrapbooking

Cartoon: Yep, Port all secure -- for someone

Bush tries to portray himself as the StarTrek President

Bush is going through another round of reinventing himself.

A couple of weeks ago he was Mighty Mouse, saving Los Angeles in a single bound (and implying that secret wiretaps might have helped him). The wiretap hint had as much validity as the Bush administration's repetition of the Mushroom Cloud Smoking Gun phrase, but it did turn out to be an embarassing leak of classified imformation.

Now Bush is trying to make people see him as the second JFK, the president who presided over a period of intense trust that technology would save us all.

Boy would it be great if he could start that up all over again! Then big business would be eating out of the Republican hands more than ever and returning to give out those juicy campaign contributions.

Lets forget all these stupid questions about personal rights. That wiretapping is just more technology.

Forget that dumb war and how rebuilders spent over $600,000 repairing an elevator in a hospital only to have it crash afterwards, killing 3 people. Forget that we can't get any rebuilding to actually work in Iraq possibly because as noted by experts in the WP the other day, it's the first war in which the government was so stupid that they started rebuilding before the war was over. So the US is out 18 billion, we look like a nation of fools, and the people of Iraq are worse off than before we decided to ignore the tirade against aggressive warfare given by our own Chief Prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson in Nuremburg, and do a Third Reich style invasion of Iraq, because we wanted a more congenial government there.

Forget all that. Because Captain Kirk is going to come down and annoint us with technology.


Forget that the president is often caught misleading in his speeches, just go with the flow and feel good about him, about Republicans, about big business which is going to bring us Big Technology which will save us all.

So what if the Republicans blocked laws that would have regulated automobile gas consumption in 2001? Cheney assured us that we can't conserve out way out of relying on Middle East Oil.

And then someone did the numbers and it turned out that we can conserve our way out of Middle East oil dependency.

What concerns me is that Bush's big pushes always end up with big taxpayer dollars going to companies that are proven later to send the money down a rabbit hole (most likely in the highest officers' pockets.

It's not that we can't do this, it's whether there will be real oversight in the Congress to make sure the money isn't thrown at Halliburton and the rest of the usual subject who have been profiteering off the American taxpayers for long enough.

Only Congress can provide that oversight, but we aren't seeing it with the Republicans in control.

Yeah, we can use technology, but so far the Bush administration has been wasting money in every big program to an extent unprecedented in our nation.

And his song and dance about a big breakthrough coming sounds like the dream of a spoiled boy emperor. Well, that's not much of a change is it?

The Worst Leaker of All, President Bush

Excerpt: Jonathan Alter article on Bush's leaking over the shoe bomb plot against Los Angeles.
The chronology of Bush’s politicizing of intelligence goes something like this: First, the president discloses classified information without any good reason to do so. Why now? It’s not as if Los Angeles is hosting the Olympics or under some new threat. (To understand how hurried and political this disclosure was, consider the fact that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, wasn’t briefed on the foiled plot and has been stiffed in his efforts to meet with the president about homeland security in his city, a problem that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Republican mayors do not have). Then, by implying without stating that the NSA may have been involved, the White House uses sensitivity about classified information as a shield against finding out whether the NSA is relevant to the Los Angeles plot in the first place.

Goss, meanwhile, is left hanging out to dry: he seems to be calling for more criminalization of intelligence leaks in one part of the paper while the president leaks like a sieve in the other. Elsewhere, he makes a big distinction between whistleblowers who seek accountability through proper channels (they’re right) and those who go to the media (obviously wrong). Feeling some pressure three quarters into his op-ed piece to offer even one example of how media coverage has jeopardized an intelligence operation, Goss hauls out the same chestnut Bush used in a press conference last month—the revelation that Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone had been tapped. The implication was that once the evil American media revealed this fact, bin Laden stopped using the phone and was harder to catch. In fact, bin Laden gave up his satphone after President Bill Clinton used coordinates from the phone to bomb him in 1998. It was Clinton’s missiles, not the media, that convinced the Al Qaeda leader he needed a more secure way to communicate.

Will the White House get away with using intelligence as a political weapon? Probably. Imagine if it were Clinton, not Bush, who decided to reveal classified information about the plot against Los Angeles in a politically convenient way. The rightwing gabfests would be having a field day, as well they should. But now the shoe bomb is on the other foot.>

Jonathan Alter has a good analysis of media feeding frenzies and Cheney's little accident

Excerpt:
You can understand why politicians chafe under the old rules of the MSM. The media often focus on relatively unimportant, easy-to-understand stories as metaphors for shortcomings that the normal conventions of the business (and the inattentiveness of the audience) make hard to convey. When reporters wanted the public to see Jimmy Carter was being swamped politically, they focused on how he was attacked on vacation in a canoe by a "killer rabbit." When the press believed that Reagan was tilting toward the rich with his hard-to-explain tax policy, Nancy Reagan's acceptance of expensive White House china briefly became an issue. These feeding frenzies are unattractive, but the alternative is worse—reporters knowing an important truth about politicians and not letting the public in on it.

The shooting could hardly be a better metaphor for Cheney. It neatly packages his faulty judgment, insularity and arrogance in a story that is not cataclysmic on its own terms but will prove hard to forget. That's too bad for Cheney, and certainly for Harry Whittington. But it is a blessing for anyone hoping to restore some accountability to a government that increasingly believes it is a law unto itself.


I think he's got that hit pretty close there.

People like to hunt, we get that

Peter Baker's puff piece on Cheney's hunting in the Washington Post misses something.

This all doesn't change the fact that not only was Harry Whittington behind the hunter, but also at some point, so was a complete medical team as Cheney pointed out in his interview with Brit Hume, drivers who drove the hunters around, possibly spotters, etc.

One article said that in hunting there is an invisible line of in front where you hunt and behind where you don't hunt. I'd like to add that you don't unless you're so self centered that you think you are above rules.

Well, I guess that describes Cheney.


Interestingly, other hunters agree, saying Cheney lost control of his emotions. (Specifically that emotion of greed, I'm thinking. Gotta get that quail!)

Excerpt of Newsweek article:
...hunters around the country agreed last week that the vice president, known as a careful sportsman and a good shot, broke a cardinal rule: in that exhilarating moment when the birds scattered up all around him, he didn't check to make sure his line of fire was clear before he pulled the trigger. "He lost control of his emotions," Freck says.

Republicans like to talk, but real oversight on Bush administration? No

The Republicans have been all over the Sunday shows whining about the Bush administration's approval of putting the control of major ports under a company owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.

The Republicans control Congress. They should be acting to stop the approval.

Yet, in other instances they have been failing to give oversight to the Bush administration.

Are they really going to do something this time or continue to be the Bush administration's poodles?

Cartoon: GOP Declares Victory

Sanctioning Democracy?

Does anyone else find it sick that Israel is sanctioning the Palestinians because they don't like who won the election?

Of course, we are no better. We plan that same action, and our leaders raise plots to get have elected governments removed if we don't like them.

A recent article at NY Times shows that those who violently overthrew Aristide's government were involved with an American taxpayer financed group at a crucial time before the 'uprising'.

This tendency of the Bush administration to cherry pick which democracies they like sets a terrible example to the world. Of course, you won't hear the Republican Congressionals complaining.

On Edit: I've found that one of my favorite Nobelists has an article published on the same subject.

Excerpt:
This common commitment to eviscerate the government of elected Hamas officials by punishing private citizens may accomplish this narrow purpose, but the likely results will be to alienate the already oppressed and innocent Palestinians, to incite violence, and to increase the domestic influence and international esteem of Hamas. It will certainly not be an inducement to Hamas or other militants to moderate their policies.

The election of Hamas candidates cannot adversely affect genuine peace talks, since such talks have been nonexistent for over five years. A negotiated agreement is the only path to a permanent two-state solution, providing peace for Israel and justice for the Palestinians. In fact, if Israel is willing to include the Palestinians in the process, Abbas can still play this unique negotiating role as the unchallenged leader of the PLO (not the government that includes Hamas).

It was under this umbrella and not the Palestinian Authority that Arafat negotiated with Israeli leaders to conclude the Oslo peace agreement. Abbas has sought peace talks with Israel since his election a year ago, and there is nothing to prevent direct talks with him, even if Hamas does not soon take the ultimately inevitable steps of renouncing violence and recognizing Israel's right to exist.

It would not violate any political principles to at least give the Palestinians their own money; let humanitarian assistance continue through U.N. and private agencies; encourage Russia, Egypt and other nations to exert maximum influence on Hamas to moderate its negative policies; and support President Abbas in his efforts to ease tension, avoid violence and explore steps toward a lasting peace.

Miner safety a symbol of a nation's civil rights health?

Think about it.

Possibly 65 miners in Mexico have their lives threatened and the best that authorities can say is that the mine's safety realities meet 'international standards". (Boy how degraded must those be?)

I can't find out what those supposed International Standards are, but they must be pretty tacky junk.

But the Mexican miners at risk are carrying 6 hours of oxygen.

On the other hand US miners had a whole hour's worth of oxygen in their tanks. Or in other words just an hour's worth of oxygen and that's why 12 our of 13 died.

Now lets contrast that with Canada where we read in today's AP article about the Mexican Miners that:
In Canada last month, 72 potash miners walked away from an underground fire and toxic smoke after being locked down overnight in airtight chambers packed with enough oxygen, food and water for several days.

Enough food and water for several days. What a concept. Mining companies, while making millions of dollars a year, also making sure that miners have what it takes to keep themselves alive for a reasonable amount of time so help could get to them.

Republicans, you control Congress. The ball is in your court.


To be fair we will note that an earlier WP report states:
After one of the deadliest months for coal mining in years, federal mine regulators last week [as of January 31, 2006] began formally considering safety improvements to help miners survive underground fires and explosions. Among the proposals: mandatory caches of oxygen tanks and breathing masks inside every coal mine.

The idea may have struck some miners as familiar, because it was. A similar proposal was put forward by the same regulators six years ago, only to be scrapped by the Bush administration shortly after it took office. And the oxygen caches were not the only proposed safety improvement to be withdrawn.

...

In addition to the proposal to require caches of oxygen tanks, MSHA also is again considering expanding the number of mine rescue teams available to respond to disasters. A similar proposal to beef up rescue teams was scrapped by the agency in 2002, agency records show.


This excerpt as well as mainstream confirmation that Sago Miners carried only 1 hour of oxygen available from WP article: "Federal Mine Agency Considers New Rules To Improve Safety" published January 31, 2006. Search Washington Post archives for it.

And if you think that these new regulations will actually be enforced then you haven't been following reports on the new Mad Cow Disease regulations (which were never really enforced --the promise of "We're getting to it" is just dragged out every time the controversy arises, like promises to take out the trash that are never actually kept.

Cartoon: The New Version of the Patriot Act

Cartoon: Cheney's Interview

Chinese government planned to punish writers that displease them. Bush administration plans to punish writers that displease them

So which is better?

The Chinese seem to be on the way to melting away authoritarian if ever so slowly.

The US seems to be rapidly on it's way to an autocracy.

The Bush administration's tool, Senator Pat Roberts is pushing legislation to put journalists who publish leaks jailed. This goes beyond the right wing push through hate radio and TV, email campaigns and outright advertiser boycotts that push mainstream news sources to the right into outright government intimidation.

But the Chinese government backed down.

Not so the Republicans that control our nation.

I see they plan to do this grandstanding on Chinese Civil Right all the election years long too. This also works into the anti socialism that some people are gaga over.

LOOK Look what China's doing! Don't read those articles about how our partners in Iraq have death squads. Read the one about internet freedom in China (while we make laws to restrict press and blogger freedom, and smother Internet freedom of speech with a taxpayer financed propaganda program).

Again the right wing has pulled its strings. This time I refuse to lose my name

The rest of my blog is at its usual place Democratic Senators Represent More Americans

I've also tranferred over the works that I believe I posted after the attack.