Thursday, November 24, 2005
A Thanksgiving Prayer
For John Dillinger, In hope he is still alive
Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts
Thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison —
Thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger —
Thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot —
Thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes —
Thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through —
Thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces —
Thanks for "Kill a Queer for Christ" stickers —
Thanks for laboratory AIDS —
Thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs —
Thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business —
Thanks for a nation of finks — yes, thanks for all the memories... all right, let's see your arms... you always were a headache and you always were a bore —
Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.
-- by William S. Burroughs
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Thousands still missing in the wake of Katrina
The whereabouts of 6,644 people reported missing after Hurricane Katrina have not been determined, raising the prospect that the death toll could be higher than the 1,306 recorded so far in Louisiana and Mississippi, according to two groups working with the federal government to account for victims.One of the things about this that is truly troubling (aside from missing and dead children) is how the dead are being found. Earlier from USAToday, La. toll rises as evacuees find dead in return to homes
Kym Pasqualini [chief executive officer of the National Center for Missing Adults] says those counting the victims are particularly concerned about an estimated 1,300 unaccounted-for people who lived in areas that were heavily damaged by Katrina, or who were disabled at the time the storm hit. The fact that authorities haven't been able to determine what happened to them suggests that the death toll from Katrina could climb significantly...Nearly 1,000 of the 6,644 unaccounted-for people are children.
"Some people are just now getting back to their homes and to the homes of their relatives," [the coroner in greater New Orleans, Frank] Minyard said. "The bodies are still coming in."I agree with Mr Stephens, this isn't fair. But are we expecting the poor minorities in this country to be treated fairly? We should be able to, but that would seem out of place. Ahh, maybe with a change in leadership, that might just become a fair expectation.
When Louisiana ended its door-to-door search Oct. 3, the number of Katrina-related deaths there stood at 972...Louisiana's decision to end the official search for victims last month triggered harsh criticism from Jack Stephens, sheriff of ravaged St. Bernard Parish, east of New Orleans. He said state authorities never completely searched some of the most heavily damaged areas where many elderly residents lived when Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29.
"For people to come home to that damage and then to make that gruesome discovery — that doesn't seem fair to me," Stephens said.
As Anderson Cooper reported
DORNIN: Since November 1, 10 bodies have been found in the ruins of the Ninth Ward. The last area, known as the Lower Ninth, will open to residents December 1. Coroner Frank Minyard worries about what people will find.
(on camera): You're fully expecting that more bodies will come in once they open the Ninth Ward?
FRANK MINYARD, ORLEANS PARISH CORONER: Yes. And I think it's -- it's going to come in for a good while. There's so much rubbish around that they might find people in the rubbish.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Congress facing the "Scandal of the Century"
The Justice Department has signaled for the first time in recent weeks that prominent members of Congress could be swept up in the corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff...with the announcement Friday of criminal charges against Michael Scanlon, Mr. Abramoff's former lobbying partner and a former top House aide to Rep DeLay.
The charges against Mr. Scanlon...by the Justice Department accused him of being part of a broad conspiracy to provide "things of value, including money, meals, trips and entertainment to federal public officials in return for agreements to perform official acts" - an attempt at bribery, in other words, or something close to it...Mr. Scanlon's lawyer says he has agreed to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation...
White House budget official David H. Safavian resigned only days before his arrest in September on charges of lying to investigators about his business ties to Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner.
"I think this has the potential to be the biggest scandal in Congress in over a century," said Thomas E. Mann, a Congressional specialist at the Brookings Institution.
Not to forget what has been found in the evidence on record. I really want to see this quote from Mr Scanlon mentioned more often:
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Bush not so popular anymore
Bush's current job approval rating stands at 34%, compared with a positive rating of 88% soon after 9/11, 50% at this time last year, and 40% in August...In November or October of their fifth year, Presidents Johnson (67%), Reagan (66%) and Clinton (58%) all enjoyed the support of majorities, while President Nixon (29%) was less popular than Mr. Bush is now.In short, Bush more like Nixon than the other recent two term presidents. You know, the presidents that actually made it to the end of their second terms. Just saying...
Fitzgerald to get a new Grand Jury.
Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward's disclosure that he learned the identity of an undercover CIA agent more than two years ago adds an unexpected new element to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide without greatly altering the substance of the case...From ABC News' The Note, The Fitzgerald investigation:
"The impact on the case is probably minimal," former Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder said. "The question before the jury will be whether Libby lied, and whether or not Bob Woodward had a conversation about Plame with another source doesn't have a great impact on the determination the jurors will be making."
Prosecutors deposed Woodward in anticipation of presenting that evidence to a new grand jury, according to a person familiar with the situation. And that is exclusive new news, courtesy of Dow Jones.
The Journal also floats the possibility that the Woodward and Novak source is the same person.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Not satisfied with Iraq, now Bush wants conflict in China
"Modern Taiwan is free and democratic and prosperous. By embracing freedom at all levels, Taiwan has delivered prosperity to its people and created a free and democratic Chinese society."I take it we can assume mainland China is going to be oh so happy to hear Bush refer to Taiwan as a free country. WorldPress.org reports on the joint military exercises from last summer.
August 26, 2005 - Russia and China conducted their first joint military exercises, dubbed Peace Mission 2005, last week. Many observers contend that the maneuvers were meant to send a clear message to the United States, Japan, and the rest of the world that the jury is still out over power in Taiwan and Central Asia.WorldPress.org goes on to include this analysis from the Taipei Times
The exercises are expected to have a significant impact on the balance of power in Asia and are also an opportunity for China and Russia to make the U.S. take note of their growing military strength. …NPR reports on the scale and intent of these exercises:
August 18, 2005 · Russian and Chinese forces begin eight days of joint military exercises involving 10,000 troops. Moscow and Beijing say they are training to counter "terrorism, extremism and separatism." But the long-range weaponry involved suggests a broader agenda.Good job George, with China and Russia flexing their military might together, seems like a good time to start pissing China off.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Texas banned ALL marriages
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
One reading of this is that anything identical to marriage will not be recognized. The fun is that "marriage" is identical to "marriage", or at least that is what Irving Copi taught me.
I guess if this did ever end up in the courts, a judge that was willing to look beyond the writing and rule based on what was meant might be a work-around. But, wouldn't that take an Activist Judge. Just wondering...
Also posted over at DailyKos.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Italian TV Alleges US Commited War Crimes at Fallujah
Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon...Italian state TV: RAI News 24
UK Independent article: US forces 'used chemical weapons' during assault on city of Fallujah
Video of broadcast is available at http://www.chris-floyd.com
N.B. Mousing over the blurred images will remove the blurring. But be warned, the clear images are graphic.
It is reported that children exposed during the attack have been left deformed and injured.
|"This is my son. His body has begun to change. His skull has grown."||"This little boy has been injured with his mom. He has lost his leg. Is he mujahadin? Is he Zaraqawi?"|
"Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone within a radius of 150 metres is done for."
Mutilated bodies are found in the aftermath. Eventhough some of the found bodies are those of wanted men, this doesn't make how they were found acceptable. "Imam Hassan Naobi...trained by the Americans but considered too close to the resistance. He and five others were found..."
|"Body shows signs of horrific torture. Skin scalded."||"Holes most probably from an electric drill."|
|"clothes intact, hiding a scorched body, the veil hiding like a shroud a face melted by the heat."||"...different type, children, women, younger, youth, older man..."|
|"We did end up killing civilians. I'm not sure who actaully it was that killed which civilains cause there's so much gunfire."Garret Reppenhagen, Former Marine, USA|
"Yeah, absolutely, white phosphorus."
"It comes across the radio as a general transmission...'In 5 mics we are going to drop some Whiskey Pete'"
Jeff Englehart, Former Marine, USA
The US State department takes exception to the claims that White Phosphorus was used in Fallujah.
|"U.S. forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes."||"They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."|
The film ends with night-vision footage from a sniper's scope while the audio gives us the radio exchange going on over the radio.
"Wait for movement by the truck"
"Movement right there"
"Roger he's wounded"
"Ok, get the truck"
"Hit the truck. Hit him"
"Good forward of it. Hit him"
DailyKos diaries on this:
- Italian Satellite TV to Broadcast Evidence of US Use of Chemical Weapons on Civilians
- The Alleged Use of White Phosphorus in Falluja
- U.S. did drop phosphorus bombs on Falujah (UK Independent)
- Italian Broadcast video online (Fallujah documentary)
Friday, November 04, 2005
Prince Chuck gives Laura Bush a quick grab
Let's just say the rich and powerful are different from you and me. and we should be very relieved by this knowledge.
Cheney authorized torture, says Colonel Wilkerson
US Vice President Dick Cheney's office was responsible for directives which led to US soldiers abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former top State Department official charged...Remember "Scooter" Libby? Did you know David Addington has Libby's old job now? I guess being a chief sadist has its payoff.
"There was a visible audit trail from the Vice President's office through the Secretary of Defense, down to the commanders in the field," authorizing practices that led to the abuse of detainees, [former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell] Wilkerson said...
"If you are a military man, you know that you just don't do these sorts of things" because troops will take advantage, or feel so pressured to obtain information that "they have to do what they have to do to get it," Wilkerson said
Wilkerson also called David Addington, the vice president's lawyer, "a staunch advocate of allowing the president in his capacity as commander-in-chief to deviate from the Geneva Conventions."Ah, who needs to worry about treaties. They just get in the way of protecting the good people of America and their Constitution
Article. VI. Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.See also Dan Froomkin over the WashPost.
GOP Money considers Christian Right "Wackos"
Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them. The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees.
Initial article in Salon: Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze
I found out about this at DailyKos: DeLay aide's memo betrays the playbook
Thursday, November 03, 2005
National Strike for Truth
It would be nice to see some old fashion civil disobedience.
National Strike for Truth
December 7th, 2005
National Strike: Wednesday, December 7th
National Strike Countdown: 33 days
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
CIA's secret Gulag system uncovered
...a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries...a central element in the CIA's unconventional war on terrorism...keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the CIA's covert actions.
The existence and locations...known to only a handful of officials in the United States.
Virtually nothing is known about who is kept in the facilities, what interrogation methods are employed...CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so...could open the U.S. government to legal challenges...and increase the risk of political condemnation...
Cheney and CIA Director Porter J. Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA employees from legislation already endorsed by 90 senators that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody.
...defend the agency's approach...be empowered to hold and interrogate suspected terrorists for as long as necessary and without restrictions...debated within the CIA, where considerable concern lingers about the legality, morality and practicality of holding even unrepentant terrorists in such isolation and secrecy...
CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA's approved "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as "waterboarding," in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning.
More than 100 suspected terrorists have been sent by the CIA into the covert system...This figure...does not include prisoners picked up in Iraq.
Most of the facilities were built and are maintained with congressionally appropriated funds, but the White House has refused to allow the CIA to brief anyone except the House and Senate intelligence committees' chairmen and vice chairmen on the program's generalities.
The idea of holding terrorists outside the U.S. legal system was not under consideration before Sept. 11, 2001, not even for Osama bin Laden...Under U.S. law, only the president can authorize a covert action...President Bush signed a sweeping finding that gave the CIA broad authorization...kill, capture and detain members of al Qaeda anywhere in the world...The black-site program was approved by a small circle of White House and Justice Department lawyers and officials
The CIA program's original scope was to hide and interrogate the two dozen or so al Qaeda leaders believed to be directly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks...began apprehending more people whose intelligence value and links to terrorism were less certain...The original standard for consigning suspects to the invisible universe was lowered or ignored.
"It's just a horrible burden," said the intelligence official.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Mark Twain on "Scooter" Libby
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. LEWIS LIBBY
also known as "SCOOTER LIBBY"
COUNT ONE Obstruction of Justice COUNT TWO False Statement COUNT THREE False Statement COUNT FOUR Perjury COUNT FIVE Perjury
I got to wondering what Mark Twain might have thought of all this. (Sources: brainyquote, wikiquote.)
- If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
- One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
- A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on.
- Familiarity breeds contempt. How accurate that is. The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it.
- Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
- Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain't so.
- Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening.
- Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest.