Tuesday, December 26, 2006

one step closer to BB (BIg Brother)

The Justice Department is building a massive database
that allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies, according to Justice officials.

The system, known as "OneDOJ," already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years, Justice officials said. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets, officials said.

The database is billed by its supporters as a much-needed step toward better information-sharing with local law enforcement agencies, which have long complained about a lack of cooperation from the federal government.

But civil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to
The little-noticed program has been coming together over the personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes.past year and a half. It already is in use in pilot projects with local police in Seattle, San Diego and a handful of other areas, officials said. About 150 separate police agencies have access, officials said.

About 150 separate police agencies have access, officials said...program will be expanded immediately to 15 additional regions and that federal authorities will "accelerate . . . efforts to share information from both open and closed cases."

Friday, December 22, 2006

This is what Nikki wants to see

This is learning the way it's supposed to be

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Big Dog was so right

you have to get this movie

Bad news Folks

Sorry to break the news. But Pelosi, Dean, and now John Conyers, have all agreed. there are to be no investigations into the possibility of impeachable offenses. This should concern all you die hard Democrats. The only thing holding Conyers back was, he said, the Republican Majority. He even went so far as to hold unofficial hearings in the BASEMENT of the congress.

Now, on the marching orders of his party, he will become part of the cover up. This despite his statements last December:
Now on to the Report and what I plan to do about it. In sum, the report examines the Bush Administration's actions in taking us to war from A to Z. The report finds there is substantial evidence the President, the Vice-President and other high ranking members of the Bush Administration misled Congress and the American people regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq; misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for such war; countenanced torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Iraq; and permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of their Administration.

The Report concludes that a number of these actions amount to prima facie evidence (evidence sufficiently strong to presume the allegations are true) that federal criminal laws have been violated. Legal violations span from false statements to Congress to whistleblower laws...
First, I have introduced a resolution (H. Res. 635) creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses.
Second, I have introduced Resolutions regarding both President Bush (H. Res. 636) and Vice-President Cheney (H. Res. 637) proposing that they be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence already on the record and their failure to respond to Congressional and public inquiries about these matters and have never accounted for their many specific misstatements in the run up to War

And what do the American people think:
87% think that the door to impeachment should indeed be open.
I guess sending the Dems to investigate the Republicans is like sending the Genovese family to look into the actions of the Columbo family. Surely they will find rackets but they're more interested in taking over the racket than they are in ending the corruption.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just Consider

Many well known and respected senior members of the U.S. intelligence services, military, and government have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Several even allege government complicity in the terrible acts of 9/11. This web site is an effort to collect and summarize their public statements and make them easily accessible. It should be made clear that none of these individuals are affiliated with this web site.

And this was before the overturning of habeas corpus

Javaid Iqbal's lawyers say the Pakistani cable repairman was snatched in the post-September 11 dragnet and held for over a year at a Brooklyn detention center, where guards beat him mercilessly.

Iqbal, like hundreds of Muslims or Arabs detained in the days after the attacks but never charged, sued the U.S. government, saying that he was held and abused for no legitimate reason....
"The government can't be allowed to reflexively target people on the basis of race, religion and national origin even in times of chaos," the lawyer said.

...he was abused in the high security unit of the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. Aside from repeated body-cavity searches and beatings while shackled, Elmaghraby said guards stuck a flashlight into his anus.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korea: A Nuclear Threat

On Sept. 19, 2005, North Korea signed a widely heralded denuclearization agreement with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. Pyongyang pledged to "abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs." In return, Washington agreed that the United States and North Korea would "respect each other's sovereignty, exist peacefully together and take steps to normalize their relations."
Four days later, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sweeping financial sanctions against North Korea designed to cut off the country's access to the international banking system, branding it a "criminal state" guilty of counterfeiting, money laundering and trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.

Condi's 9/11 Foreknowledge Denial Follies

If it weren't for the current media frenzy over Congressional youth abuse, the US public might be getting a much more educational eyeful of Condi Rice's serial 9/11 truth abuse. Outed in Bob Woodward's new book "State of Denial" for "brushing off" July 10, 2001 warnings of an imminent attack from CIA leaders Tenet and Black, Condi first disputed the claims, denied the meeting happened, then said she couldn't remember, and finally admitted to it but said it contained nothing new (yet apparently told the CIA team to report it to Rumsfeld and Ashcroft which they claim to have done on July 17). The 9/11 Commission was briefed on this dramatic encounter, but it somehow escaped mention in their final report, and finger pointing and official contradictions continue to this day. Although there are plenty of mainstream articles now recounting this high stakes he said/she said blame game, the following blog piece focuses on a critical facet--the role of the 9/11 Commission's executive director, Phillip Zelikow, in covering it all up for his old and new boss, and further shredding the credibility of the Commission's report.

How Did Human Remains End Up Miles From Flight 93's Crash Site?

Are we supposed to believe that hijackers armed with only box cutters forced an angry mob to jump from the plane seconds before the crash? Or are we supposed to believe that people simply felt compelled to jump from the plane? If the official story is true then people jumping from the plane is the only way human remains could have been found miles from Flight 93's crash site.

A more logical explanation is that people inside the plane were sucked out because of a sudden depressurisation.

corruption file

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tough on crime

Rookie District Attorney Cracks Down on Drunk Drivers
She cannot fathom why so many people - more than 4,100 arrested in her community last year - turn the ignition after having a few drinks. More troublesome, she said, is that one-third have been caught before.

"Look, if I'm a one-term DA, then I'm a one-term DA, but I am going to do everything that I can to make the changes in this county," Rice said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More voting machine concerns

Black Box Voting blows through memory card seal:
Black Box Voting projects in Leon County, Florida on May 26, 2005 and Dec. 13, 2005 demonstrated that by altering the information on the memory card, the election can be hacked without a trace.

San Diego, June 6 2006: Sent these voting machines home with poll workers for sleepovers. They said the seal on the memory card bay made it secure.

King County, Washington Aug. 29 2006: Says they are using the door and plastic tab seal as shown in these pictures, and they are sending the voting machines home with poll workers for the September primary election. They say the seal makes it secure.Black Box Voting blows through memory card seal:
Black Box Voting projects in Leon County, Florida on May 26, 2005 and Dec. 13, 2005 demonstrated that by altering the information on the memory card, the election can be hacked without a trace.

San Diego, June 6 2006: Sent these voting machines home with poll workers for sleepovers. They said the seal on the memory card bay made it secure.

King County, Washington Aug. 29 2006: Says they are using the door and plastic tab seal as shown in these pictures, and they are sending the voting machines home with poll workers for the September primary election. They say the seal makes it

More voting machine concerns

Black Box Voting blows through memory card seal:
Black Box Voting projects in Leon County, Florida on May 26, 2005 and Dec. 13, 2005 demonstrated that by altering the information on the memory card, the election can be hacked without a trace.

San Diego, June 6 2006: Sent these voting machines home with poll workers for sleepovers. They said the seal on the memory card bay made it secure.

King County, Washington Aug. 29 2006: Says they are using the door and plastic tab seal as shown in these pictures, and they are sending the voting machines home with poll workers for the September primary election. They say the seal makes it secure.Black Box Voting blows through memory card seal:
Black Box Voting projects in Leon County, Florida on May 26, 2005 and Dec. 13, 2005 demonstrated that by altering the information on the memory card, the election can be hacked without a trace.

San Diego, June 6 2006: Sent these voting machines home with poll workers for sleepovers. They said the seal on the memory card bay made it secure.

King County, Washington Aug. 29 2006: Says they are using the door and plastic tab seal as shown in these pictures, and they are sending the voting machines home with poll workers for the September primary election. They say the seal makes it

HUD staff told to favor allies

I suppose this could be considered irrrellavant since the investigation didn't find "direct evidence" of favourism, but I'm reminded of our own HUD scandal in Kansas City.


The closing arguments in Saddam Hussein's trial have already been given. Why should we still be paying to keep him captive, to feed and house him, for all of August, all of September, and part of October as he just sits there? There was such a rush to war to get this man, why the sudden delay and delay and delay?

You don't really need to ask, do you?

This is such an obvious ploy to use war, once again, as a flat out GOP political product during the last weeks of the election that the Democrats should be screaming bloody murder.

Let's review history: in 2002, President Bush launched the idea of invading Iraq shortly before the election, and scheduled the big UN vote on the matter for, you got it, the week before the election. He said it had to be rushed and happen that week.

In 2004, Fallujah. The massive, publicly touted Fallujah invasion was announced two weeks before the election and touted by all media outlets as something that would break the back of the insurgency. It was all a lie of course, as we documented, and the public warning to the insurgents cost American lives and guaranteed failure.

So here we are again. It's coming up on October. And this time the plan to use the Iraq war with a last minute media-dominating story is obvious. Saddam could be sentenced today. He could have been sentenced a month ago. But he is sitting there waiting for the date that has been made public - "mid-October." Yes, the sentencing will be the dominant story in the final weeks before the election. And the since the Democrats didn't cry foul back in July when this came out and demand he be sentenced then and our elections be respected, it will work as usual.

I love Freepers

If a piddling little war like Iraq is stretching the Army, it is clear that we need a bigger Army. And more money to fund it...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Universal National Service Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)

To provide for the common defense by requiring all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.


February 14, 2006
Mr. RANGEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services

I saw gas for $1.99 today

A statistical analysis found that 78 percent of changes in President Bush's approval ratings could be correlated with inverse changes in the price of gas.

EPIC Urges Commerce Department to End Export Double Standard

In a letter to Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, EPIC urged the Department of Commerce to restrict the export of high-tech surveillance equipment to China. While US law limits the export of tear gas, handcuffs, and shotguns to China, high-tech equipment that is used for communications surveillance and censorship is exported to the country without restrictions. EPIC's letter cited the2005 US State Department report and the Privacy and Human Rights report which document the role that surveillance and censorship technology plays in political repression. (Sept. 21, 2006)

The Bill of Rights:

A Transcription

Monday, September 18, 2006

Prison Labor.

We need to provide rehabilitation opportunities to inmates, but you might remember that the war on drugs was just getting going in the 70's:
A Brief History of Federal Prison Industries
Since 1934, Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated-a wholly-owned corporation of the United States Government-has operated factories and employed inmates in America's Federal prisons. Also known as FPI or UNICOR, Federal Prison Industries, Inc., has made an incalculable contribution to law enforcement by contributing to the safety and security of Federal correctional institutions... Inmates have families to help support, court-imposed fines to pay, and victims to recompense. Under the Bureau's Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP), all inmates who have court recognized financial obligations must use at least 50 percent of their FPI earnings to pay their just debts. Since the program began in 1987, more than $80 million has been collected.

Sanford Bates, the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, once observed that "Prisoners should work because it is economically necessary, socially advisable, and because it represents the most important element in the general attempt to solve the problem of delinquency." In short, if prisons are necessary to protect society, then prison industries are necessary to make those prisons function properly.

By the middle of the 1970's, FPI was working to moderate sales fluctuations through a greater emphasis on marketing and customer service. In 1974, it established regional marketing positions and organized the corporation into seven divisions, each of which handled resource management, production, and sales in a specific FPI industry (Automated Data Processing, Electronics, Graphics, Metals, Shoe and Brush, Textiles, and Woods and Plastics). A year later, it initiated a program to improve product quality and acceptability. Although the law required that Federal agencies purchase from FPI whenever possible, the corporation still had to compete in order to win customers.

Then in 1977, FPI introduced a new corporate logo and a new trade name: "UNICOR." Coinciding with its new image, FPI established a Corporate Marketing Office to develop nationwide marketing strategies and programs. The marketing initiatives of the middle and late 1970's presaged even greater efforts during the 1980's and 1990's to make UNICOR more responsive to customer needs and to base UNICOR's activities squarely on modern business principles.

Prison-based call centers are probably more common than you think -- by some counts almost every state in America runs some. But they're probably not as bad as you think. UNICOR call centers don't compete with American jobs -- they only take on contracts that were about to be outsourced overseas. Security is high -- it has to be, if only because of the perception of danger.

And, as a UNICOR salesman told me, "adherence is fantastic." That's a joke you'll hear a lot from the prison outsourcing industry, but it's true. The fact is, prison call center jobs pay more than other prison jobs. They provide work in clean, air-conditioned environments that give prisoners the chance to interact with people on the outside who don't know they're talking to a convict. Prisoners like that; being treated like a call center worker is much preferred to getting treated like a convict. These men and women covet these jobs...

We do not believe Federal Prison Industries should continue its unfettered expansion into the commercial marketplace," Tim Maney, director of legislative affairs for the Chamber of Commerce told NPR in February of last year. "The business community is extremely concerned with this."

UNICOR wouldn't talk to NPR, and they haven't been willing to speak with us either. It's a matter of protecting their clients, businesses that have opted for cheap labor in American prisons rather than cheap labor outside our borders. Is there anything wrong with this?

Some interesting statistics

For too long, the incarceration industry has gotten away with high costs and low performance. It is time to introduce accountability, competition and rational incentives into the nation's prison systems--both public and private.

Federal and state governments spend more than $35 billion a year to lock up a greater portion of the population--one out of 138 Americans--than any other country on earth. The prison population keeps growing, mainly because our recidivism rates are sky-high. Half of former inmates return to prison. It is time to ask: What are we getting for the dollars spent on this growing revolving-door system?

Certainly prisoners should take personal responsibility for their own actions and their own rehabilitation. But with smart programs, many more should be finishing their sentences and coming home to be taxpaying citizens, not lifelong drains on the state's coffers.

Why are so many failing to rehabilitate themselves? One way to ask that question is this: Where are the financial incentives for prisons to properly perform their rehabilitative function? If anything, the captains of the incarceration industry have a perverse incentive to rehabilitate as few people as possible and keep business booming.

for the big dog


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Analyst predicts plunge in gas prices

Of course I feel compelled to note that this all takes place in the run up to the election:
Crude-oil prices have fallen about $14, or roughly 17 percent, from their July 14 peak of $78.40. After falling seven straight days, they rose slightly Wednesday in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to $63.97, partly in reaction to a government report showing fuel inventories a bit lower than expected. But the overall price drop is expected to continue, and prices could fall much more in the weeks and months ahead

As it stands now, the recent oil-price slump has brought the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline down to $2.59, according to the AAA motor club. In the Seattle area, prices per gallon have fallen to $2.856 currently from $3.071 a month ago, a decline of 7 percent, according to AAA.

Should oil traders fear that this downward price spiral will get worse and run for the exits by selling off their futures contracts, Verleger said, it's not unthinkable that oil prices could return to $15 or less a barrel, at least temporarily. That could mean gasoline prices as low as $1.15 per gallon.

Other experts won't guess at a floor price, but they agree that a race to the bottom could break out.

"The market may test levels here that are too low to be sustained," said Clay Seigle, an analyst at Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consultancy in Boston.

On Monday, the oil-producing cartel OPEC hinted that if prices fall precipitously, OPEC members would cut production to lift them. But that would take time.

"That takes six to nine months. If we don't have a really cold winter here [creating a demand for oil], prices will fall. Literally, you don't know where the floor is," Verleger said. "In a market like this, if things start falling ... prices could take you back to the 1999 levels. It has nothing to do with production."

Dance Monkey Dance

whho we are?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Air Force chief: Test weapons on testy U.S. mobs

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

Wynne also said the Air Force, which is already chopping 40,000 active duty, civilian and reserves jobs, is now struggling to find new ways to slash about $1.8 billion (€1.4 billion) from its budget to cover costs from the latest round of base closings.

He said he can't cut more people, and it would not be wise to take funding from military programs that are needed to protect the country. But he said he also incurs resistance when he tries to save money on operations and maintenance by retiring aging aircraft.

"We're finding out that those are, unfortunately, prized possessions of some congressional districts," said Wynne

FCC ordered media study destroyed, lawyer says

The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.
The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin

Monday, September 11, 2006

Save your "lib" comments

Do me a favor Mike. In respect to the thousands that died 5 years ago today, please limit your self to thoughtful posts. Just a request: take fivee minutes to look at the links then five minutes to think.

Lou Dobbs

Fire fighters

I will be adding to this post later today...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Am I the only one who completely missed this?

Judiciary Committee chair Orrin Hatch eventually admitted the hacking. He suspended (with pay) one of his own junior staffers and declared himself "mortified" and "shocked," adding, "There is no excuse that can justify these improper actions." It now appears that Manuel Miranda, a senior aide to Senate majority leader Bill Frist, distributed the e-mails to right-wing lobbying groups and propaganda outfits. Miranda previously worked for the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and was a public advocate for defeated Bush nominees like Miguel Estrada.

So much for checks and balances

Judge Yuri Hofmann on Tuesday afternoon dismissed the lawsuit brought by San Diego voters contesting the June 6 election of Brian Bilbray to California's 50th Congressional district seat. Bilbray was sworn in to Congress while his election was not yet certified and the vote count was not yet complete. These are but some of the many grounds cited for the election challenge. But no matter how damning the evidence, it would not get its day in court.

The motion to dismiss, filed by defendant Bilbray, claimed the court has no jurisdiction. Indeed, Hofmann cited numerous precedents of courts keeping their distance from a legislative fray.

Homeland Security and Jon Binet

Suwat said U.S. authorities informed Thai police on Aug. 11 that an arrest warrant had been issued for Karr on charges of premeditated murder. The warrant was sent to Thai police on Wednesday.

“Through investigation we were able to determine where his residence was and the Thais arrested him,” Hurst said. “He did not resist. He did express surprise.”

The U.S. Homeland Security official said Karr had left the United States several years ago and had not returned.

meanwhile back at the ranch....

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."

Her ruling went on to say that "the president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

too funny

i hope yours works better, mike

The Worst Ruling of the Week

...a ruling, on July 14, by Federal Judge John Gleeson, that the government can detain noncitizens indefinitely without explanation so long as that end of that detention is “reasonably foreseeable.”

The case before him was Turkmen v. Ashcroft, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights [1]"on behalf of male Muslim noncitizens from Arab and South Asian countries who were swept up by the INS and the FBI in the dragnet that followed September 11," the center notes.

Judge Gleeson also ruled that the government could single out people on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. “If applied to citizens,” he acknowledged,” this singling out “would be highly suspicious.”

Calling the decision "profoundly disturbing," Rachel Meeropol, an attorney for the center, said it gives the green light to detentions of noncitizens "at the whim of the President."

Gleeson’s ruling would have justified the Japanese internment camps for all except those who were citizens at the time. (David Cole, one of the attorneys in this case, makes this same point in a great article he wrote for the LA Times [2].)

In the here and now, it’s an especially distressing ruling because it bestows a blessing on one of the Bush Administration’s many powergrabs after 9/11. With the Ashcroft Raids, Special Registration, and other policies, the government rounded up 5,000 immigrants and deprived them of their due process rights.

And Judge Gleeson says that’s OK?

The Fifth Amendment says “no person” shall be deprived of due process.

The Fourteenth Amendment echoes that, and says “no person” shall be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Now the Bush Administration and Judge Gleeson are willfully ignoring those amendments. And they are treating immigrants as less than persons.

How sweet it isn’t.

Republican Candidate Calls for Forced Labor Camp for Immigrants to build wall

Don Goldwater, nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, caused an international stir this week when EFE, a Mexican news service, quoted him as saying he wanted to hold undocumented immigrants in camps to use them "as labor in the construction of a wall and to clean the areas of the Arizona desert that they're polluting."

The article described Goldwater's plan as a "concentration camp" for migrants.

Goldwater, a candidate for governor in Arizona, said in a statement Friday that his comments were taken out of context. He said he was calling for a work program for convicted nonviolent felons, similar to "tried and tested, effective and accepted practices" used by state and local jails.

But two Republicans, Arizona Sen. John McCain and Rep. Jim Kolbe, called Goldwater's comments "deeply offensive" and asked state Republicans to reject his candidacy in the Sept. 12 primary.

thank God for the religous right

Republican congressional hopeful John Jacob believes the devil is impeding his efforts to unseat five-term Representative Chris Cannon.

He says there's another force that wants to keep him from going to Washington and the devil is what it is.

Jacob says that since he decided to run for Congress, Satan has disrupted his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped.

Jacob said during a Wednesday immigration event that the devil was working against him, then reiterated his belief yesterday in a meeting with The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board.

He says there's been a lot of adversity, and there's no question he has had experiences that believes are due to an outside force.

How to save the world

A question of priorities: hunger and disease or climate change?
TWO years ago, a Danish environmentalist called Bjorn Lomborg had an idea. We all want to make the world a better place but, given finite resources, we should look for the most cost-effective ways of doing so. He persuaded a bunch of economists, including three Nobel laureates, to draw up a list of priorities. They found that efforts to fight malnutrition and disease would save many lives at modest expense, whereas fighting global warming would cost a colossal amount and yield distant and uncertain rewards.

That conclusion upset a lot of environmentalists. This week, another man who upsets a lot of people embraced it. John Bolton, America's ambassador to the United Nations, said that Mr Lomborg's “Copenhagen Consensus” (see articles) provided a useful way for the world body to get its priorities straight. Too often at the UN, said Mr Bolton, “everything is a priority”. The secretary-general is charged with carrying out 9,000 mandates, he said, and when you have 9,000 priorities you have none.

So, over the weekend, Mr Bolton sat down with UN diplomats from seven other countries, including China and India but no Europeans, to rank 40 ways of tackling ten global crises. The problems addressed were climate change, communicable diseases, war, education, financial instability, governance, malnutrition, migration, clean water and trade barriers.

Friday, June 23, 2006

the smoking gun?

The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday.

"We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said in a quickly called press conference late Wednesday afternoon.

Reading from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, Santorum said: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist."

... a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."The official said the findings did raise questions about the years of weapons inspections that had not resulted in locating the fairly sizeable stash of chemical weapons. And he noted that it may say something about Hussein's intent and desire. The report does suggest that some of the weapons were likely put on the black market and may have been used outside Iraq.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a “motion to compel” with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to force the United States Secret Service to comply with a court order to provide Judicial Watch with all White House visitor logs detailing the entries and exits of admitted felon and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

On April 25, 2006, Judge John Garrett Penn ordered the United States Secret Service to release to Judicial Watch, “all White House visitor logs from January 1, 2001 to present that reflect the entries and exit(s) of lobbyist Jack Abramoff from the White House” without redactions by May 10, 2006. Judicial Watch received two documents from the Secret Service on May 10 that indicated Abramoff made two visits to the White House on March 6, 2001 and January 20, 2004. However, the documents provided by the Secret Service were not official White House logs and contained incomplete information.

According to Judicial Watch’s analysis of the documents:

The two pages, dated March 6, 2006, are not official logs, but rather newly-reproduced summaries of certain information in the Secret Service’s database.

The documents are incomplete. They do not indicate with whom Abramoff visited on either date. The Secret Service routinely requests and records this information for all visitors. Secret Service logs obtained by Judicial Watch from the Clinton administration include information such as the “Visitee,” what room was visited, and the name of the person requesting the visit.

The documents also do not reflect all entries and exits of Abramoff to the White House. The White House has publicly acknowledged several Abramoff visits, such as May 19, 2001, Hanukkah receptions in 2001 and 2002 and additional “staff level meetings.” The first three dates do not appear on the documents produced.

According to press reports, Bush administration officials have admitted more complete logs do exist in response to the Court’s order, but that the White House directed the Secret Service to withhold them.

“The fact that the Secret Service has flagrantly violated the Court’s order is bad enough, but the notion that the White House might somehow be involved is disturbing and it merits investigation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Secret Service must stop playing games and release all documents per the Court’s order.”

Friday, May 12, 2006

a Futures market for gasoline?

This is a great idea. Sign me up for a few hundred gallons. smaller stations could make it work but they would probably have to do much shorter terms. The smaller capacity would probably only work for 6 months or so since you'd probably have a small group of users in the beginning. But once you get to ,say 30% of your customers (remember, I am no economist so i have no idea what the actual nmbers would have to be)buying gas at cheaper than current prices you would start losing money. The first aspect of Petrowski's program would allow consumers to buy prepaid cards for a certain amount of gasoline at a set price. If the price at the pump rises, the card holder would still pay the lower price they locked in with their prepaid card.

A working version of the plan is here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Financial friendly fire

Army specialist Tyson Johnson of Mobile, Ala., had just been promoted in a field ceremony in Iraq when a mortar round exploded outside his tent, almost killing him.

"It took my kidney, my left kidney, shrapnel came in through my head, back of my head," he recounted.

His injuries forced him out of the military, and the Army demanded he repay an enlistment bonus of $2,700 because he'd only served two-thirds of his three-year tour.

When he couldn't pay, Johnson's account was turned over to bill collectors. He ended up living out of his car when the Army reported him to credit agencies as having bad debts, making it impossible for him to rent an apartment.

Leftist leaders reject U.S. trade plan

Bolivia's new left-leaning president signed a pact with Cuba and Venezuela on Saturday that rejects U.S.-backed free trade and promises a socialist version of regional commerce and cooperation.
Cuba promised to send Bolivia doctors to provide medical care to poor people, and teachers to conduct literacy campaigns. Venezuela will send gasoline to the Andean nation and set up a $100 million (€80 million) fund for development programs and a $30 million (€24 million) fund for other social projects.

Cuba and Venezuela also agreed to buy all of Bolivia's soybeans, recently left without markets after Colombia signed a free trade pact with the United States.

"According to any reasonable definition of the term, this is not a trade agreement," Michael Shifter, a political analyst with the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, said of last year's ALBA deal. "It's an attempt to pose a real counterweight to the U.S. role and agenda in Latin America."

Shifter predicted few other Latin America nations would join ALBA, instead preferring trade agreements with the United States.

But he said Chavez is likely eyeing Peru as a potential ALBA member if nationalist Ollanta Humala prevails in a presidential runoff expected for May 28 or June 4. Humala was the front-runner in the April election.

BIG Brother alert

Federal and state governments are seeking to add millions of DNA profiles to anti-crime databases by including genetic information about people who are charged — but not yet convicted — of crimes.

The arrestee-testing laws generally permit a person's DNA to be taken after he or she is charged with a felony. If a defendant is acquitted or the charges are dropped, the profile is expunged from the database and the biological sample is destroyed. As long as the profile is in the database, it can be matched to other crimes.

Such databases initially contained only DNA profiles taken from convicted felons. However, New Mexico and Kansas this year enacted laws that require DNA testing for all people arrested for alleged felonies, and similar plans are under consideration in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee.

Advocates such as Sepich say that testing DNA profiles of arrestees is no more intrusive than comparing fingerprints found at crime scenes to databases of convicts and arrestees. The DNA profiles do not code for any genetic characteristics, they say.

Cheney exempts his own office from reporting on classified material

A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt.

Not only has the administration reported a dramatic increase in the number of documents deemed "top secret," "secret" or "confidential," the president has authorized the reclassification of information that was public for years. An audit by a National Archives office recently found that the CIA acted in a "clearly inappropriate" way regarding about one-third of the documents it reclassified last year.

Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their government," Bush said in his executive order on classified information. "Nevertheless, throughout our history, the national defense has required certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens."

Bush and Cheney have made it clear they are intent on reclaiming presidential powers lost by Bush predecessors. That erosion of power started with Richard Nixon's losing fight over the privacy of his papers after the Watergate scandal and continued through Bill Clinton's impeachment.



Iraqi president, says he recently met the representatives of seven armed groups

Now this looks promising:
"...there are groups other than the Saddamists and Zarqawists who joined the armed operations for the purpose of fighting the occupation,” Talabani was quoted as saying. “We are trying to have a dialogue with them to join the political process.”

Friday, April 07, 2006

welcome to the future

Just imagine if this were on every phone.

No more wondering about the location of your child or teen. Keep an up-to-the-minute progress on their location.

Locate your child on any computer with Internet Access or call our toll free hotline and they can do a remote locate for you 1-877-229-2287.
Currently, locate and tracking information is stored indefinitely.
Set safe zones to alert parents when loved one enters or leaves designated areas.
Restrict incoming and outgoing calls to pre-selected numbers.
Phone locations updated every 60 seconds.
Locate loved ones on city map or aerial view.
View tracking path of phone.
Know speed and direction phone is traveling.
Now you can know your children are safe, even when they’re out of your sight.

But wait! It's everywhere!

Giving McCain benefit of the doubt, for now

Senator John McCain’s Liberty University Address to be Televised Nationally via Sky Angel Family and Christian Television Service

I like John McCain and I'm willing to wait and see what he actually says to the graduating clas at Jerry Falwell's university. I hope he will be able to draw enough of the less extreme away from the Christian right. Assuming of course that he will be the nominee in 2008. Who knows?

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Answer: Princess Diana's death.
>> Question: How come?
>> Answer: An English princess
>> with an Egyptian boyfriend
>> crashes in a French tunnel,
>> driving a German car
>> with a Dutch engine,
>> driven by a Belgian who was drunk
>> on Scottish whisky, (check the bottle before you change the spelling)

>> followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles;
>> treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines.
>> This is sent to you by an American,
>> using Bill Gates's technology,
>> and you're probably reading this on your computer, that use Taiwanese

>> chips, and a Korean monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a
>> Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry-drivers, hijacked by
>> Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to you by

>> Mexican illegals.....
>> That, my friends, is Globalization

Muslim says Quran justified attack in N.C.

Police say that just before lunchtime March 3, Taheri-azar drove a rented 2006 Jeep Cherokee through the Pit, a popular gathering place at the school from which he graduated. The SUV hit nine people, but none was injured seriously. He then drove off and calmly called 911 to surrender

Friday, March 24, 2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006

White House Civil Liberties Panel Finally Meets After 16 Months

A White House civil liberties panel created more than a year ago to monitor the effects on ordinary citizens of the war on terrorism took its first significant action this week.

It met.

One of Mars Rover's Wheels Stops Working

One of the Mars rover Spirit's wheels has stopped working and the solar-powered robot must use its five other wheels to drag itself up a slope to catch enough sunshine to keep operating in the descending Martian winter, NASA said Friday.

The right front wheel previously had an episode of balkiness but this week the motor that turns the wheel stopped working, the space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement.

Americans want Democrats to control Congress: poll

President George W. Bush's approval rating hit its lowest score in the Newsweek poll, the newsmagazine said in a statement, citing recent events, such as the Dubai ports controversy and the upcoming third anniversary of the Iraq war.

Only 36 percent of American adults approve of the way the president is handling his job, according to results of the survey conducted on Thursday and Friday.

Sixty-four percent are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time, while only 30 percent are satisfied.

A Newsweek Poll conducted exactly a year ago found 57 percent of Americans approved of the way Bush handled terrorism and homeland security, and 35 percent disapproved, the magazine said.

Now only 44 percent of Americans polled approve, while 50 percent disapprove, it said.

Sixty-five percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq and 29 percent approve.

Forty-seven percent approve of Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court -- a five-point increase since the last Newsweek Poll and the sole issue in the poll in which the public believes he is performing well.

The poll results were based on a survey of 1,020 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

a random thought

It's funny when people like russ get you to thinking. When the Space shuttle crashed a couple of years ago there was an Israeli astronaut on board. How big is the Israeli space program? For that matter what are all the Eropeans doing with their space programs? Anyone?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

speaking of Pat Robertson

check out this piece at Political Cortex the religious right remains a powerful faction in American politics, and Pat Robertson remains a wealthy power broker with daily television audience that is one of the largest on cable television. True, he has become an embarrassment to many in his movement, who are now seeking to distance themselves in various ways. But this is more complicated than it may seem at first blush, because Robertson is also an embarrassment of riches for televangelism, for the religious right and for the Republican Party.

and remember that this guy is still in charge

AHHH Democracy at work

first you buy the votes

Democratic precinct committeeman to 10 months in prison and two years of supervised release for his role in a vote-buying scheme...

then you buy the congressmen

a conservative advocacy group picked up the $10,000 tab for a chartered plane and helicopter flight

now I know the vote buying is definitely illegal. But they were giving $5-$10 per vote to citizens(?) fro a specific vote. Do you think the 10 large spent on Brownback was for a specific vote or a slate of issues. Brownback said in an interview. "I was asked to speak at each of them, and my request was just to get me there and back." By the way, I've been to San Antonio and I just can't get my mind arond the trip costing 10 grand. unless the Senator was on a partially paid trip to tibet. The Buddhist association paid to et him there and Robertson's group had to pick up the tab for the long trip to Texas.

a song to make you think

check it out

Saturday, March 04, 2006

more proof Bush shaped reality?

I'm sure this means nothing to Mike in Bigdog's butt

Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq...The first report, delivered to Bush in early October 2002, was a one-page summary of a National Intelligence Estimate... Among other things, the report stated that the Energy Department and the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research believed that the tubes were "intended for conventional weapons," a view disagreeing with that of other intelligence agencies, including the CIA, which believed that the tubes were intended for a nuclear bomb...The disclosure that Bush was informed of the DOE and State dissents is the first evidence that the president himself knew of the sharp debate within the government over the aluminum tubes during the time that he, Cheney, and other members of the Cabinet were citing the tubes as clear evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program... The second classified report, delivered to Bush in early January 2003, was also a summary of a National Intelligence Estimate, this one focusing on whether Saddam would launch an unprovoked attack on the United States, either directly, or indirectly by working with terrorists.

The report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that it was unlikely that Saddam would try to attack the United States -- except if "ongoing military operations risked the imminent demise of his regime" or if he intended to "extract revenge" for such an assault, according to records and sources

Pentagon Releases Names of Gitmo Inmates

"Prisoners here are in paradise," he says. "American people are very good. Really. They give us three meals. Fruit juice and everything!" Still, he says, he wants to return to his family.

Guantanamo man tells of 'torture'

hunger strikers were strapped to a chair and force-fed through a tube three times a day.

Bush on "trial" in high school class.

Bush on "trial" in high school class.

Seems to me the las tline of the story hits the nail on the head.

more news from the border

A U.S. Border Patrol agent opened fire when he was attacked by men with rocks

Sunday, February 26, 2006

the abortion debate as discussed on the air this morning.

now let me arue uninterrupted and maybe you folks can straighten this out:

  1. Life is a continuous process -Lefty and mike from Fairway
  2. the question is when does the new life receive rights and responsibilities- Socialist Keith

Keith would submit to you that there are no rights and /or priveleges held by a cellular mass known as a fetus. In fact, He would add that the baby that does eventually get born( that is until we see one of these mutant births that Lefty has concluded happens from time to time) still has no rights. Now I would like to point out that we as adults are assigned the responsibility( by law) to care for these rightless individuals. Now I am no leggal scholar, but I'll bet that we have to care for them because they are alive and as a society we say you can't bring that life into the world and then just leave it in a dumpster. We do, as a somewhat rational society, provide a means whereby to discharge that adult responsibility :

  1. a new mother can just takae a newborn to several safe spots and just leave him with no questions asked
  2. i could right now decide that i don't want my kids at 9,2, and 1. If i take them to the appropriate place to discharge them (an adoption agency, e.g.) then I will suffer no penalty.

We as a society have decided that we won't force one entity to remain responsible for another. But we do require that they et out from under these responsibility in an appropriate way. this is why I would be okay with saying if you don't want the child and it is viable (however science may define it) then you have to undergo the procedure to deliver the child. Now this wld certainly be a high cost for the society (atleast early on) but that's life.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Jose Padilla: update

Jose Padilla was denied bail. As well he should be. the issue that i protested was the holding without charges. Now charges are filed, bail is denied. I hope the next step is show the proof and punish this crack head.

A word on the use of Tasers

The Taser stun gun shold be looked at the way you do many programs. Cases of abuse should be punished with extreme prejudice. Cases where police have tasered old ladies or zapped suspects because they had bad attitudes should result in prosecution of the officer. the technology itself is useful and has ndeed saved lives. Think of how many people have been tased that might have otherwise been shot. here in K.C. think back to the guy shot in his yard because he approached police with a bbq fork. Or the blind guy in the northeast that got tased in 2004. The outcome in both of these cases would certainly havve been better if they had been shocked instead of shot.

U.S. Army detained suspects' daughters, wives as leverage

Is this why Jill Caroll was kidnapped. The leadership of our military should reconsider the practice of picking up wives to flush out suspected insurgents. While these are a very few cases, i hope that the practice is halted. I can clearly see this being a move that generates lot's of blowback.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

2 doctors balk at killer's execution

The doctors, whose names have not been made public, were to have certified that a drug administered to Morales had rendered him unconscious before two other chemicals were administered to kill him.

I can't help but feel that their are good republican doctors in California that would certify. I have my misgivings about the death penalty, but if this guy spent 24 years on death row then the 15 minutes (tops) that he would feel before dying is nothing.

how ironic

Actors (from left) Waqar Siddiqui, Rizwan Ahmed and Arfman Usman with Michael Winterbottom and detainee Rhuhel Ahmed
The actors who star in movie The Road to Guantanamo were questioned by police at Luton airport under anti-terrorism legislation

okay maybe Hamas won't adjust to leadership so well

...graphics appearing on the Hamas website call for the destruction of Israel in a nuclear holocaust.

The public education debate

The Left meets The Right

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Blair-Bush deal before Iraq war revealed in secret memo

Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was "solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war published today.
A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

Iran Plans to Resume Uranium Enrichment

Iran's president Saturday ordered the resumption of uranium enrichment and an end to snap inspections of its facilities after the U.N. nuclear watchdog voted to report Tehran to the Security Council.

Iran testing missiles

Shahab-3 missiles that Iran possess can reach Israel and US bases in the Middle East

3 not 2 detained at the State of the Union

Gainer says he will work with the House Sergeant at Arms to clarify the rules of the House of Representatives, and to ensure that officers have a better understanding of what constitutes a protest and demonstration. Before he finalizes the new rules, Gainer has asked his staff to look into previous arrests and ejections in the gallery to see what he can learn. One of the first protests at a State of the Union speech occurred in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson was speaking and a group of suffragettes sitting in the gallery unfurled a large yellow banner with the words, "Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage?" The Capitol Police prepared to arrest the women, but the chief doorkeeper ordered them to leave them alone. An assistant doorkeeper on the floor, however, did manage to pull the banner down. Compared to what happened at this week's speech, that almost seems civilized.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why I care about the $3 trillion.

I want to know where the money went. We live in a market based economy. Anyone, or group, working together or separate could have an enormous effect on our economy. The people who can spend like that are the ones that are really running things. Peple spending that kind of money are the ones that you have to wonder about as far as their power. and we don't even know about them. We don't even know that the money is missing. I didn't know it. I heard a handful, a small handful, of left leaning talk show hosts mention it. But I didn't follow up on it and find the buried stories untill just a few weeks ago. The liberal media didn't say anything about it. I don't know if this is conspiracy or collusion, probably aat least collusion. But I find it interesting rthat the "liberal" media doesn't bring it up.
This is deeper than Democrat v. Republican. Don't you care? One story I read mentioned that the GDP for the US was 11 Trillion last year. Even if you put aside the Who question. What about the oversight? This happened at the end of Clinton's watch. It seems to me that Rumsfeld would be jhappy to lay that at the feet of the former administration. The DOD is the largest portion of our fed budget. according to Jim Hightower's report a few weeks ago, the pentagon has cut the number of auditors...And what pra tell are we defending against? some whackjobs that took over a plane? We couldn't use f-16s to take them out. and they don't cost anywhere near 3 trill. I think at somepoint we should have some say on where this money is going. It's ours i'm in for 40 grand.
Now a few weeks ago the President had a meeting with all the former secratries of Defense and State. now if I was wearing a tin foil hat: I could see the president saying "ladies and gentlemen the plan we have been working on for all these years is done." Now what could that be anything. Probably weaponizing space. it could be that an asteroid is hurtling towards us and theyv'e known about it for 20 years. I don't know and I'm okay that I don't know. but at some point shouldn't there be some sort of transparency. I mean shouldn't congress people at least get an answer? or is that to risky? and it may well be. I just hope that it is a noble endeavor. 3 Trillion is a lot of money could you take over the world?
If I had 3 trill I would feed a lot of people and educate a bunch. But I'm not that guy. I hope they are looking out for us.
I saw a movie once called Deterrence starring Jason Pollack. in this movie the son of Saddam is in control of Iraq and he's got all these nuclear missiles that he's managed to get from the French. and he goes on CNN and he tells the world that he's gonna nuke like seven cities around the world. and there's this big standoff and the peresident is actually new because the elected guy died a month ago or something and he's plaing it tough. He launches a bomber that goes to baghdad and says to ussay "you stand down or else" and all the advisors are going nuts. they're like we have to negotiate. But he has a secret. as they watch the trajectory of all the missiles the hussein has launched the world frets and the president goes on tv and says " we';ve been working woth the french for 10 years to let hussein get this stuff and they are all duds BUM BUM BUMMMMMM I hope they are looking out for us. I have trouble having that kind of faith when I see the corruption that we see on the front pages today.

I don't have a problem teaching and feeding people. but
I don't know what we're defending against the requires so much money. What would you do with 3 Trill?

Friday, January 20, 2006

more on earmarks and their role in the ever growing deficit

Here are a few great ideas to reduce the amount of specially marked public dollars that get inserted into bills racheting up the debt. This is irrespective of the 3 trillion missing from the Pentagon.
part 1

part 2

I'm especially in favor of the notion of a " 72 hour cooling period" where spending bills be placed online for citizen review and reaction before the actual vote. I know this is pie in the sky, but wouldn't it be nice if we the people were just made aware of the debt that we are passing on to our kids. Now Kesselman, shines a bright light on the local and state govt supported lobyists that get us Yarn museums and and questionable studies( like Mu getting 1.6 million for a shitake mushroom study. And while I'm grateful for the info, she seems to gloss right over the Abramoff type of lobyists.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Delay out of leadership but still seeking powerful slot

Randy "Duke" Cunningham has confessed to taking bribes and now Tom Delay is trying to take his place on the House Appropriations Committee . This is sort of like finding a cop on the take and reassigning them to the evidence room for punishment.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mail call

“All mail originating outside the United States Customs territory that is to be delivered inside the U.S. Customs territory is subject to Customs examination,” says the CBP Web site. That includes personal correspondence. “All mail means ‘all mail,’” said John Mohan, a CBP spokesman, emphasizing the point.

“This process isn’t something we’re trying to hide,” Mohan said, noting the wording on the agency’s Web site. “We’ve had this authority since before the Department of Homeland Security was created,” Mohan said.

However, Mohan declined to outline what criteria are used to determine when a piece of personal correspondence should be opened, but said, “obviously it’s a security-related criteria.”

Mohan also declined to say how often or in what volume CBP might be opening mail. “All I can really say is that Customs and Border Protection does undertake [opening mail] when it is determined to be necessary,” he said.

Audio from tonight's show

McKinney grills Rumsfeld

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

It Was a Very False Year: The 2005 Falsies Awards

The 2005 Falsies Awards

rewarding the Hypemeisters

Looting the treasury

the real scandal is hardly limited to one oily lobbyist and a handful of members of Congress with their hands out. Or even a score of congressional members, if it comes to that. What may become the true scandal of our day is the broad-scale evolution of power out of the hands of elected people and into the hands of countless lobbyists and behind-the-scenes power brokers.

this to from the piece:

In 1982, Congress included 12 "earmarked" projects in its appropriations. By 1998, there were 2,000 of them worth $10.6 billion, as reported by Kammer. In 2004, that number had tripled to 15,584 earmarks worth $32.7 billion.

Not coincidentally, the number of lobbyists in Washington - people whose livelihood depends on lining up earmarked pork for its lucky beneficiaries - has mushroomed, too. They have doubled in five years to 35,000 determined souls whose one job is to beat down the doors of the 535 elected members of Congress.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Does Pat Robertson speak for God?

Only God should decide if Israel should relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem, Robertson said, in a reference to Sharon's plan to pull out of Gaza next year.

"God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"

He said that in October 2004. Now with Sharon quite likely on his death bed, Robertson decidied to point it out as though this is the hand of God. Is God in deed talking to us thoughSharon's stroke.

Pat Robertson's clarificationof his views does not come right out and say it, but I think it is clearly his imlication.

Was 9-11 Hijacker hangin with top Republican fundraiser?

interesting how the same players keep showing up at the table:

Saleh Kamel, Terrorism, Abramoff & money laundering
Prior to the events of September 11th, 2001 chief hijacker Mohamed Atta and several of the other 9/11 hijackers were reported to have made multiple visits to the SunCruz casino cruise ship off the Gulf coast in Florida. [22] This has led some to speculate that Mohamed Atta was using the casino to launder money for al-Qaeda and that possibly Atta was involved in a scheme with Abramoff and the mob to smuggle heroin. [23] To date none of these allegations has been confirmed or investigated.

In 2002 Abramoff worked for the Global Council of Islamic Banks, whose chairman, Saleh Abdullah Kamel, was under investigation for allegedly funding terrorism and terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden

Now this doesn't prove a thing. But it raises some "anomalous evidence."
consider that Abramoff was one of Bush's "pioneers" which means he raised $100k for the Presidential campaigns.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

maybe we ought ot just forget about voting

The story is not about allegations of fraud — it's about an appearance of impropriety that is stunning in its magnitude.

Unfettered by any disclosure regulations about ownership or political affiliations, just a few companies create and control almost all the voting machines in the U.S. Do the people who own them have conflicts of interest? We don't know, they won't tell us. Do they employ anyone with a criminal record? We don't know, they say it's private. Can we have someone check the vote-counting code to make sure no one tampered with it? Nope, they say its proprietary.

Election Systems & Software, the firm whose machines were involved in the 2002 flubbed Florida primary election — and the company that now makes the voting machines for most of America — is a private company that does not like to tell the public who owns it. But at least one major shareholder is Michael R. McCarthy, who runs the McCarthy Group. The McCarthy Group has been a primary owner of Election Systems & Software, including its predecessor, American Information Systems for more than a decade. Michael R. McCarthy is the current campaign Treasurer for Republican senator Chuck Hagel. [See Hagel and McCarthy Documents] Prior to his election, Republican Senator Hagel was president of McCarthy & Company. In fact, he decided to run for office while his own company was making the vote-counting machines!

President or King?

The true genius of the US system as imagined by its founders - the understanding that any form of state power left unchecked in the hands of a single person or group of people was likely to degenerate into despotism (or worse), whatever the initial desires of the individuals involved.

It doesn't matter if Carter or Clinton had similar programs, which I'm not sure has been shown. What is most important is that the slide toward an "imperial presidency" be stopped. If we continue to sit and idly watch the growth of the executive branch, i fear that we are setting our selves up for dictatorial rule. Bush bashing aside, if it happens tommorow or 15,20 even 30 years from now, someone will find the power too tempting. With each succesive deferrence to the Executive, we limit our ability to stop it.